“It is easy to preach Christmas in a Christmassy way. You know, quaint and familiar cliches that smell a lot like an other-worldly fairy tale. It will have beautiful scenes and an eclectic array of two-dimensional characters. And our listeners will guess where the message is going: kindness to others, unity amidst division, celestial sentiments of goodwill and a few references to eating too much. The first Christmas was no fairy tale. So we should not preach Christmas to satisfy the nostalgic yearnings of a weary public. Nor should we sprint past the stable to get to a post-Christmas presentation of the Gospel in order to satisfy the more robust preaching critics from pew four. The birth of Jesus occurred in a context of great confusion and tension. Jesus entered this world to change things. And if we can enter that world, we might better grasp the hope for our world today.”
Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley are some of the most prolific hymn writers the church as ever seen. Together, they penned thousands of songs, and two of those songs are two of the most well-loved Christmas hymns we sing today.
In this post, Melissa Kruger notes keenly, “We often assume the Lord only leads us to green pastures, settling us beside still waters. While a peaceful place of rest is certainly his ultimate destination, at times we travel through scorched places, where fiery trials and destructive storms threaten to overwhelm and consume (Isa. 43:2). These times of testing and trials are uniquely painful—only the Lord can continually walk with us, strengthen us, and meet us with his unfailing compassion.”