How to Keep Christ in Christmas #7

The cry "Keep Christ in Christmas" reflects an anxiety about losing sight of Jesus Christ at this time of year, either because society is becoming more secular, or because society is too preoccupied with shopping, or for some other reason. In fact, we are always on the verge of losing sight of Jesus Christ! That's because he is leading us and looking over his shoulder and saying to us, "Follow me to a place you may not want to go" (John 21:18-19). So keeping Christ in Christmas finally comes down to taking up our own cross and following him. If we follow Jesus, we will go places we fear to go, accept unpleasant tasks, make sacrifices, and speak up when it would be prudent to keep our mouths

How to Keep Christ in Christmas #6

Christmas has always been a time of excess. One reason why George Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas night in 1776 was that he knew the Redcoats would be passed out drunk and in no shape to fight. But just because many people eat too much, spend too much, and drink too much around Christmas doesn't mean you have to! A little self-control can crack a window in your life for the Spirit of Christ to blow in. In fact, self-control is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Also, the Spirit "blows where it wills" (John 3:8), so the Spirit can work in our lives through ordinary means, not merely miraculous ones. If your loved ones or co-workers are telling you that they're worri

How to Keep Christ in Christmas #5

You know that song, The Twelve Days of Christmas? It's actually a thing! In the old days (and today in some churches) Christmas was a twelve-day-long season. It began on December 25, and it ended on Epiphany, January 6. Epiphany is a Christian holiday that celebrates the Wise Men bringing presents to Jesus. So another way to keep Christ in Christmas is to lengthen Christmas a bit. Instead of pitching your tree on December 26, keep it up until the 6th. Stream some Christmas carols the first week in January. Another idea: read Biblical stories that focus on the birth of Jesus between Christmas and Epiphany. There is a thing called the lectionary--it's a list of Bible passages to be read in chu

How to Keep Christ in Christmas #4

Read the Christmas story in the Bible. Actually, I should say, "stories." There are two stories of Christmas in the Bible. One is in the gospel of Matthew (chapters 1-2), and the other is in the gospel of Luke (chapters 1-2). They're very different. As you read them, ask yourself, "What parts of this story fill you with hope? With wonder?" There are also some scary scenes in both Christmas stories. How do these scary moments speak to the violence and dread that people experience in today's world? Next, read the first chapter of the gospel of John. While John does not mention Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, or the wise men, his beautiful words about God's Word becoming flesh are, in their own wa

How to Keep Christ in Christmas #3

I haven't heard much about the "War on Christmas" this year. Did we win? As I recall, the War on Christmas had something to do with what's on the Starbucks cups, or being wished a "Happy Holidays" instead of a "Merry Christmas" by a store clerk. Here's an idea: if you want to keep Christ in Christmas, be Christlike this Christmas. That means taking more of an interest in your barista as a human being than taking offense at the cup she presents you with. Tone is important. If a grocery store employee wishes you a "Happy Holidays," and you respond with "Merry Christmas" in a smug, sanctimonious, or grumpy tone of voice, you may give that person a bad impression of Christ, Christmas, and yourse

How to Keep Christ in Christmas #2

Jesus Christ is not just in heaven. He's also right here in this world. In the Bible (Matthew 25:31-46), Jesus said that he still walks among us disguised as a hungry or thirsty person, a prisoner, a patient in a hospital or nursing home, a refugee, or an immigrant. And Jesus promised us in the Bible that if we are kind to people like this, it's just like doing a kindness for Jesus himself. So if we want to keep Christ in Christmas, it's as easy as feeding the hungry, or welcoming a newcomer to our community. There are a lot of ways that you can do that at First Presbyterian Church. Click on our Serve Locally tab to find out the ways you can serve a hot meal for our hungry neighbors or provi

How to Keep Christ in Christmas #1

I remember my first experience with a video game. It was an Atari display model at the Woolco on Raeford Road in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Every time I accompanied my parents to the shopping center that December, I waited in line for my turn to playing Space Invaders on the Woolco Atari. I begged mom and dad to get me one for Christmas, and I was very happy when I found one under the tree! But here's the thing: that's the only Christmas present I can remember getting. What I remember most about my childhood Christmases are two aunts and an uncle coming over on Christmas Day to visit. I remember larger family reunions on the weekends leading up to Christmas. I also remember the music. My

White Gift Musical

Dave Shepherd stopped by Pastor Marvin's study to spread the good news about the White Gift musical on December 10!

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Columbia, MO 65201

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