CHRISTMAS SEASON


Christmas is more than a day.  The Church celebrates Christmas for 12 days!  Christmas calls us to an incarnational spirituality.  Philippians 2:5-11 (a hymn of the early church), expresses this incarnational spirituality:


5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)


During the Christmas season it is appropriate to focus on taking on the mind of Christ; that is a humility of life.  We live in union with Jesus.  This requires us to completely empty ourselves to become one in life with Jesus, God incarnate (in human flesh).  Questions to contemplate during the Christmas season:  Am I living for myself, or am I finding my life in Christ?  Am I taking time to daily reflect on and repent of selfish tendencies?  Am I spending time through prayer in the presence of Christ?  Am I expecting people to serve me and my needs or am I serving others as Christ served me with His life?  As we reflect daily on these questions, Jesus who was born in Bethlehem is born anew in our hearts and lives.


Summary of Christmas Spirituality from the book, Ancient Future Time by Robert E. Webber


Theme 
Spiritual Emphasis
What is the meaning   
of Christmas?
"Think of the Lord's birth, wherein the Word became Flesh, not as a
past event which we recall, but as a present reality upon which we
gaze" (St. Leo, AD 440)

What is the Christmas
Eve service?
More than an observation, it is to be a participation in the
incarnation event.
It is in the night (symbolic of spiritual darkness), in which God
performed his great redemptive acts (passover, the birth of Christ,
the first Lord's supper, darkness at the crucifixion, the resurrection
before dawn).
The light of the candles symbolizes the bursting forth of the light of
Christ in a dark world.
Christ calls us to live in expectation of his return.
What is Christmas
spirituality?

The mystery that God became a man, that by man united to God he
might defeat the powers of darkness.

What is incarnational
spirituality?


The mystery of humanity united to God.  Because Jesus was united
to God, we, through our union with Jesus in faith signified by
baptism, are united with God.
 
What are the ancient
steps that speak to
our union with God?

Step 1.  Conversion and continual repentance.
Step 2.  Liberation of the passions from the first Adam.
Step 3.  Continuous prayer.

How do we live
incarnational
spirituality?
The life of incarnational spirituality is that of emptying oneself.

What posture
should we adopt to
live incarnational
spirituality?
1. Humility.
2. Take on a humiliation.
3. Seek meakness.
 

Prayer for Christmas

Almighty God, you have given your only begotten Son to take our

nature upon him, and to be born of a pure virgin; grant that

we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and

and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ,

to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

From The Book of Common Prayer