Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas

It is indeed the night before Christmas and in Australia there are many excited children. It is this sense of excitement that Clement Moore captured in his well-known poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'. This poem, written originally for his children on Christmas Eve 1822, is 190 years old this year in its published form. But his rendition of Christmas is just one narrative that speaks of the significance of this special time.

Christmas is a season that means many things to many people. For some, it is simply about sharing in celebrations, taking a holiday and having a good time. While for others it is a time of deep spiritual significance, as the birth, life, sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus are remembered. The Christian message is encapsulated in the words of the Gospel of John:

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

At one end of the continuum of explanations of the meaning of Christmas, we have the biblical message of Christmas that John 3:16 captures, while at the other we have the secular message that Christmas is about gifts, family and a good time. In between there are many varied practices and traditions (not all mutually exclusive I might add). I wrote a post about a month ago that offered 28 wonderful picture books (here) that have many Christmas themes and span the entire range of interpretations.

Christmas nativity knitted with pure Aussie wool!

Whatever your understanding of the meaning of Christmas, I hope that in 2013 it will be a time of reflection, rest and great significance. I hope that in your experience it will NOT be a time of sadness, busyness and separation from loved ones. Might you experience and share much love, kindness, compassion and hope. I pray that all readers will be blessed at this special time; one which has its origin in a life that changed the world.


Michael Mackenzie said...

An excellent blog post, and very appropriate as we approach Christmas and the year's end. Thank you.

Trevor Cairney said...

Hi Michael, thanks for leaving a comment, glad you appreciated the post.