Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas, the Church Year and animals

Well, it is about time for random theological stream-of-consciousness emission.

Yesterday was the celebration of Christmas. I watched the geese flying over and the birds at my feeder and I thought for a moment: do the animals know it is Christmas? Well, you can say no pretty easily, it seems. My wife said they probably celebrate the real day of Christmas, which is something different. Then the thoughts turn to the Church Year and to the rhythm of the week. Are these human inventions. It doesn't seem to be the case. Yahweh was directing the Israelites during the Exodus to these ideas. The Sabbath was introduced first in Exodus 16:23-29. It also links back to the account of Creation (Exodus 20:8-11 back to Genesis 1:31-2:3). The annual celebrations of Passover, Atonement, Tabernacles, etc. also tie to a yearly cycle. The months are tied to the year (Exodus 12:1-3, 13:4-6). So the calendar has divine origins.

What must surely be a human corruption, we don't maintain the 28 day months in our Roman calendar. Perhaps we should go back to the Hebrew calendar. Wouldn't that be nice to have every month except one end on the same day of the week and have exactly four weeks in it. It would be like the advantages of the Metric System.

My thoughts turned to this whole stream as I pondered the emotionalism that is almost inexorably tied to the celebration of Christmas. Things are done at Christmas to make people feel good. My pastor works hard to involve children and others in the services so that people smile and be happy. Isn't it all a false happiness, however. Feeling a "warm fuzzy" does not solve our problems. Our real happiness ought to come from Christ having come to us, taken on human form, died and rose for us. That is the real solution to our problems.

An article in the paper noted that many churches are now offering "blue" services, acknowledging that people get depressed over Christmas. Why do they get depressed? Well, is it because there is so much pressure to feel good? How about that in combination with the fact that they haven't solved their real problem. Many people don't ever feel good coming to church because they do not know the Gospel. They come out of obligation to try to do another work to make God happy with them. That is hard to do and people get bored so we add entertainment and sentimentality to bring the warm bodies into the pews.

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