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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Do You Know?

Christmas Customs “FAQ”
By Rev. Dr. Richard Bucher

1. What does the word “Noel” mean?

There are two schools of thought on this. Some believe that the word comes from the Latin natalis (birthday) and refers to Jesus’ birthday. Others believe that it derives from the French nouvelles (news), and so refers to the good news (the Gospel) of Christ’s birth, which the angels announced on the first Christmas when Christ was born. The second meaning seems to be the way the word is used in most carols, such as the “First Noel,” that is, the first proclamation of the good news.

2. What does the word “Yule” mean?

The best explanation is that the word comes from Anglo-Saxon word geol (feast). Since in preChristian times, one of the great feasts was the celebration of the winter solstice, the whole month of December was called geola (feast month). It was probably later applied to the feast of Christmas. Others believe that yule comes from the Old Germanic word Jol, meaning a turning wheel referring to the “sun wheel” rising after the winter solstice.

3. What is the origin of the word “Xmas”?

Unbeknownst to many, the word “xmas” was not invented by carnal merchants trying to commercialize Christmas. The word is actually an old English one. The “x” in Christmas is the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ.” Thus, “xmas” is simply a shortened version of “Christmas.” (more…)

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The Christmas Tree

The Origin and Meaning of the Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is one of the most popular and cherished Christmas customs. Each year, 35-40 million live trees are purchased and decorated in the United States alone. But when, where, and how did this custom begin? What is the origin of the Christmas tree? What does it mean?

Many answers to these questions have been offered on the Internet. Some are completely erroneous. Some make no distinction between history and legend. Unfortunately, none of them give sources for their assertions about the Christmas tree (a problem with most web articles!). Given that dependable scholarly sources about the history of the Christmas tree are hard to come by, citation-less Christmas tree web pages are understandable. (more…)

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I found this article today. Very interesting.

Reason for the Season
By Dr. Richard P. Bucher

“Jesus is the reason for the season.” As I’ve grown in my understanding of Christ’s birth and the history of Christmas, I’ve also grown less fond of this slogan. Let me tell you why.

I don’t care for this slogan because I don’t know what it is supposed to mean and to whom it is supposed to be directed. “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Maybe. It depends what “season” one means. If the “season” refers to the season of Christmas, well, of course, Jesus is the reason for Christmas. But if “season” refers to December or the time of the winter solstice, then, no, Jesus is not the reason for that season.

If the slogan is intended for Christians who, in their busyness and obsession with customs and traditions and parties and gift-giving, have lost focus of the whole point of Christmas, then the slogan has merit. Christians definitely need to be reminded this time of year.

But if the slogan is intended to be a rant against the world by huffy Christians who feel that the season has been hijacked by other celebrations, as well as by commercialization and customs, it has little or no merit. But isn’t that exactly the context in which “Jesus is the reason for the season” is often used? Christians hear someone say “Happy holidays” and they become offended. “It’s Christmas!” they want to say. “It used to be that everyone celebrated Christmas this time of the year,” they think to themselves. “Now all these Johnny-come-lately festivals have sprung up, and now we have to give them equal billing. Ridiculous! Jesus is the reason for the season!” (more…)

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imagesPeople go through a lot today to find the “perfect” name for their new child.  Today, January 1st is a feast in the Church which marks the 8th day of Jesus’ life.  The Law required all boys to be circumcised.  

On this day, our Savior also received His name.  Jesus’ name which means, “The Lord saves” is the name given to Joseph by the angel.

Why was He circumcised?  His circumcision placed Him fully under the Law of God.  In Hebrew his name means “YHWH saves” speaks the purpose for which he was born – to save us.

Prayer for the Circumcision of our Lord:
Lord God, You made Your beloved Son, our Savior, subject to the Law and caused Him to shed His blood on our behalf. Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit that our hearts may be made pure from all sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

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nativity_5340cIf you looked out on the Feast of Stephen — that’s 26 December, but we’ll get back to that — you might think Christmas is over. Already on the evening news on Christmas day the local stations are posting Christmas tree pick up sites and times. Some hang around for a week to give a festive atmosphere to New Year’s Eve and Day, then come down. On 2 January, Valentine’s Day candy is in the stores. (more…)

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Christmas Sermons

colorlogoTo my friends at Starbucks and throughout the world:

Here are the worship services from Redeemer Lutheran Church this Christmas.  Click on the link to take you to my sermon podcast page.  Enjoy!

Click here to listen.

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annunciation-botticelli2-300x288By: Dr. Albert Mohler

Can a true Christian deny the virgin birth? This question would perplex the vast majority of Christians throughout the centuries, but modern denials of biblical truth make the question tragically significant. Of all biblical doctrines, the doctrine of Christ’s virginal conception has often been the specific target of modern denial and attack.

Attacks upon the virgin birth emerged in the aftermath of the Enlightenment, with some theologians attempting to harmonize the anti-supernaturalism of the modern mind with the church’s teaching about Christ. The great quest of liberal theology has been to invent a Jesus who is stripped of all supernatural power, deity, and authority. (more…)

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