Christmas is my favourite time of year! As the biggest shared secular and religious holiday, yuletide is either loved or hated on both sides of the spectrum. The world celebrates pretty lights, time with family and expensive gifts, without recognising the meaning behind Christmas. The business of the season can tempt many Christians to forget what this festive season is really all about. For this reason, I invite you to prepare your heart with me as we look forward to Christmas through the Advent book club read. This year we will do this by reading Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller together in Nettie’s Book Club.
As we read this book we will not only discover the story of Christmas in a new way but also the meaning of Christmas which can be hidden behind the tinsel and Santa Claus. Although the world and Christians alike celebrate giving gifts at Christmas, we have to remember that the gifts remind us as followers of Jesus of his “stupendous act of self-giving” (page 4). This is just one example of how the meaning of this special celebration can become hidden.
“These are powerful themes, but every one of them is a two-edged sword. Jesus comes as the Light because we are too spiritually blind to find our own way. Jesus became mortal and died because we are too morally ruined to be pardoned any other way. Jesus gave himself to US, and so we must give ourselves wholly to him. We are, therefore, “not [our] own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Christmas, like God himself, is both more wondrous and more threatening than we imagine.”Hidden Christmas, Timothy Keller
Christmas is an unsentimental opportunity to profess the gospel to everyone who is listening. In this article where Tim Keller discusses his book, he reminds us that the message of Christmas is not “Cheer up! If we all pull together we can make the world a better place.” Rather, it is a stark reminder that “Things really are this bad, and we can’t heal or save ourselves. Things really are this dark — nevertheless, there is hope.”
One of my favourite ways of professing the gospel is through the Christmas carols. In his introduction, Tim Keller takes us through an analysis of Hark! The herald angels sing. When was the last tie you sang this hymn while meditating on the magnificent words of this hymn?
As we uncover the hidden truth behind Christmas, we will find that “To understand Christmas is to understand basic Christianity, the Gospel.” (page 5)
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Let’s get ready for Christmas!
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the books studied by Nettie’s Book Club. I am not profiting from the sale of these books. I will carefully select books that have had a significant impact on my faith. My goal is simply to share the wisdom in these books with others so we can assess and apply the wisdom of these authors to grow in understanding of our faith together.