There is a scene in the biblical Christmas story that bugs me. I didn’t notice it for years. But one Christmas as I was preparing a couple of sermons, I was struggling with how to talk about the same stories we all know and love (without causing the congregation to saw yule logs during the sermon). I fear that sometimes we know the stories so well that we do not really pay attention to the mystery and magic of them.
NASHVILLE (BP) -- As worship pastor Andrew Lucius selects songs for Christmas worship, he is considering specific needs in the Georgia congregation he serves. Among his conclusions: singing only the first verse of familiar carols could leave worshipers spiritually malnourished.
My favorite Christmas movie is "A Christmas Story," which tells the story of Ralphie Parker, a nine-year-old boy and his desire to receive an official Red Ryder carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a sundial for Christmas.
The problem that Ralphie faces is all of the adults in his life are against him receiving the gun as a Christmas present because, as they say, "he'll shoot his eye out."
“Everyone went to their own town to register” (Luke 2:3).
The familiar Christmas story starts with a governmental registry. Tracking — and taxing — populations helped Rome enact its oppression. So we read of a journey to Bethlehem by an engaged couple with a faith and ethnicity considered suspicious by the authorities.
As missionaries adjust to life in a new country, many challenges emerge: building relationships, perhaps learning a new language and learning cultural traditions. Even Christmas can bring new experiences.