Although retail stores started displaying Christmas items long ago, with the coming of December and the official start of Advent this weekend, I have properly begun to turn my attention towards the festive season. Yet, each year, there seem to be increased efforts from advertisers to turn people’s attention away from Christmas as a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Although they have since apologised for the advert, Greggs’ depiction of the nativity scene starring a sausage-roll in the manger illustrates this tendency. While Sky Sports will receive some custom from my family because it broadcasts the second main event of Christmas after the birth of Christ, the PDC World Darts Championship, it undoubtedly goes too far when claiming that “Christmas is for football” – or any sport for that matter.
I appreciate that other religions and faiths are represented in the UK other than Christianity, and that, originally, Christmas was connected to the polytheistic ancient festival, the Saturnalia. Even if Jesus was not born on 25th December, however, it is vital for Christians to celebrate his birth and for all to respect this.
Moreover, it is a truly remarkable story that repays repeated reading. Christmas is a time where we can find ourselves being even more busy than usual, and where it is difficult to slow down. When we fail to slow down, however, we miss details, which are sometimes very important.
This advent calendar style blog is one way of slowing down and having a good think about the Christmas story. I slowly began to read a few verses of Luke 1-2 each day just over a week ago and I want to share some of what has inspired me through reading these chapters more slowly than usual. The Gospel of Luke is the third of the four gospels in the Bible and offers us the fullest account of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, and still, Christians believe, can teach and inspire us today.
While I may not be offering a traditional chocolate Advent calendar, I hope to offer some food for the soul as I share a paragraph or two’s musings each day on a few verses of Luke 1-2. Naturally, I will miss things out as well. When you read the passage for yourself, you may see things I haven’t seen and be inspired in different ways. Nevertheless, I hope that if you consider yourself a Christian, you might find some of this helpful; and if you’re not a Christian, but are perhaps curious, you might find some of this interesting and worth thinking about.