Even if our culture didn't seduce us from a biblical focus upon Jesus' birth, our propensity to trivialize our faith into sentimentalism also tempts us. We can't substitute Christmas for Easter; but, if we listen carefully to Paul's instruction for us at Christmas, we can allow the coming of the baby Jesus to teach us (v. 12: "training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions").
Every Christmas Eve Christians should repeat, "If it hadn't been for Easter we wouldn't know about Christmas." Or we could chant, "Christmas teaches us. Easter saves us."
UPCOMING WEEKS In addition to the lectionary resources there are thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
I have just recently returned from an out-of-town trip, and as I read our selected passages for this week, I find myself reminded of the days leading up to that trip. With a few exceptions, most of the traveling that you and I do is known in advance and planned. And therefore the days leading up to our departure are filled with deliberate preparations.
Mark Ellingsen Ron Love Bonnie Bates Bill Thomas Frank Ramirez Bob Ove
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14 In an economy like ours that values flexibility, experience and loyalty matter less and less (Alan Wolfe, Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in World of Choice, pp.23ff .). The loyalty to legacy is what this story of Elijah and Elisha’s loyalty to the former’s prophetic legacy is all about.
Faith involves this kind of loyalty to roots. What Pope Paul VI once said about the liturgy could be applied to Christian life in general:
I think that we are in a battle for the soul of the church. I'm not just talking about my Presbyterian denomination, although it certainly has its problems. I'm suggesting that we are in a battle for the soul of the whole church in our time.