The cast of Christmas reassembles for Easter by Steve Turner

The cast of Christmas reassembles for Easter

Take the wise men to the Emperor’s palace.
Wash their hands in water.
Get them to say something about truth.
Does anyone know any good Jewish jokes?
The one about a carpenter
who thought he was a King?
The one about the Saviour
who couldn’t save himself?
The shepherds should stand with the chorus.
They have a big production number –
‘Barabbas, We Love You Baby’.
Mary? She can move to the front.
We have a special section reserved
for family and close friends.
Tell her that we had to cut the manger up.
We needed the wood for something else.
The star I’m afraid I can’t use.
There are no stars in this show.
The sky turns black with sorrow.
The earth shakes with terror.
Hold on to the frankincense.
We’ll need that for the garden scene.
Angels? He could do with some angels.
Avenging angels.
Merciful angels.
He could really do with some angels.
Baby Jesus.
Step this way please.
My! How you’ve grown!

– Steve Turner

Christmas is really for the children by Steve Turner

Christmas is really for the children

Christmas is really
for the children.
Especially for children
who like animals, stables,
stars and babies wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Then there are wise men,
kings in fine robes,
humble shepherds and a
hint of rich perfume.

Easter is not really
for the children
unless accompanied by
a cream filled egg.
It has whips, blood, nails,
a spear and allegations
of body snatching.
It involves politics, God
and the sins of the world.
It is not good for people
of a nervous disposition.
They would do better to
think on rabbits, chickens
and the first snowdrop
of spring.

Or they’d do better to
wait for a re-run of
Christmas without asking
too many questions about
what Jesus did when he grew up
or whether there’s any connection.

– Steve Turner

Who owns December 25th?

I find myself bemused by the customary Pagan-Christian chatter over Solstice versus Christmas. “We were here first!”, say the Pagan’s. We had the last laugh!”, say some Christians. “You’re both Pagans!”, say other Christians. Oh, my! I need a Panadol.

I have to admit, I always find it incredibly ironic to witness Wiccans complaining about one religion SAMPLING from another, or dogmatically asserting the ONE TRUE MEANING of the season (just think about it for half a second). I also find it ironic to hear “postmodern missionaries” triumphantly asserting the Christmas metanarrative in a ways which are neither postmodern, nor particularly missional. And let’s not forget the puritans, who in keeping themselves clean tend to head dirt on everyone.

Honestly, what’s wrong with different people celebrating different things on the same day?

Re-Gifting Jesus

christmas-jesus.jpgLast Sunday, as I was preparing myself for a prayer spot in the service, the introduction to the Gospel of John bubbled up into my awareness:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

So I incorporated the verse into my prayers, but since then it keeps coming up for me and I think it’s becoming my focus for this Christmas. So why the cat? Just that, it speaks to how we sometimes fail to recognise the gifts we’re being given. Or other times, we do recognise the gifts but just aren’t too keen on them. Have you ever re-gifted? Re-gifting refers to the giving away of unwanted gifts as a way of disposing them. When we wrap Jesus up in shiny sentimentality and pass him on without taking his way of life seriously, isn’t that kind of re-gifting?

Fake Gifts

“This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:3)

Not every Christ we see at Christmas is Jesus of Nazareth. Not every Christ would slum it like Jesus did, or hang out with the people Jesus did. Which Christ will you encounter this Christmas?

If we only practice hospitality with family and friends, what virtue is there in that? Everyone does that.

Christmas Buddha

Santa-buddha

I just thought I’d share this photo from a Christmas party with my folks and rellos last weekend. They were a bit short on mangers and raindeers obviously. I’m not sure who co-opted the enlightened one but in any case he seemed oblivious to the proceedings. I’m thinking it needs an engrish caption.

Christmas after Christendom

In a London school a teenager with no church connections hears the Christmas story for the first time. His teacher tells it well and he is fascinated by this amazing story. Risking his friends’ mockery, after the lesson he thanks her for the story. One thing had disturbed him, so he asks: ‘Why did they give the baby a swear-word for his name?’

Stuart Murray Williams, The End of Christendom

Do you have any Post-Christendom Christmas stories?

Nicholas of Myra

I had an interesting conversation with my son about Saint Nicholas / Santa Claus last week.

He’s beginning to realize that something’s up, that the culturally driven Jingle Bells hype doesn’t quite match his emerging map of reality. So he’s asking questions. And as he learns the right questions to ask I’m answering honestly.

Well, in differentiating between fact and fiction we’ve once again revisited the original Santa story, of Nicholas of Myra, from fourth century Asia Minor. The disciple who gave in secret, so that the glory would be given to God.

He never had much time for this story when he was younger, fixated on north poles and reindeer as he was. Now he’s remembering that I’ve always talked of a far more ancient story. One that wasn’t so magical on one level, but far more magical on another. It’s that giving is the true magic. It’s magic to see him starting to grasp this.