It’s easy to get distracted by the shopping, the parties and the presents at Christmas time. So much so that it can be easy to forget that Jesus is the true reason for celebrating during this time of year. I’ve pulled together 5 inspiring Christmas quotes from books I’ve been reading that will help you see the wonder of Jesus’ birth in the midst of the season’s busyness.
‘One Christmas when I was five or six years old, I was sitting beside him [Uncle Ernie] in church. The offering plates were passed, and I put in my nickel. He leaned over and whispered, “How much did you get?” At the same time he showed me, half hidden in his hand, a twenty-dollar bill.
He ruined my Christmas. I was ashamed to tell my parents or anyone else. Not only did my uncle not believe in God; he stole from the God he did not believe in. I kept hearing his words “How much did you get?” and seeing the edge of that twenty-dollar bill. It was several years before I realized it was a joke. And now that years have passed, it doesn’t seem so much a joke as a parable. “How much did you get?” It is a pregnant Christmas question. It is a gospel question.
How much did you get? We are in the presence of what is given. Worship in this sanctuary is an act of anticipation and reception, realizing how much has been and is yet to be given by God for us. Saint John put it memorably for all of us when he wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3:16). But Jesus was anticipated eight hundred years earlier by Isaiah’s pungent sentence “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6).’
– Eugene Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire.
‘Our Christmas Eve meal is the most spiritual and religious moment of our entire holiday season. Mirela prepares great food from appetizers to dessert. We buy the best beer, the best wine, and the best whisky. We decorate our home, and we welcome in friend, stranger, and acquaintances. I remember our first year in Portland saw us welcome a couple we met on the street searching for live music, our landlord, and long-time friends. Each year we see a different collection of people, yet each year is the same: We have a feast on the evening we celebrate God’s arrival. There’s hardly anything more appropriate in our worship. More than hymns, more than sermons, and even more than candles; we see God’s arrival to us at a table with other people.
Our Longing for the Feast
Food is significantly religious. It is through food that Adam and Eve rebel. The first biblical meal is the perversion, pollution, and de-creation of all God had made. Adam’s feast ushers the world into chaos. Through food humanity enters a groaning and waiting for wholeness, restoration, and peace. Sin—everything that is unkind, unmerciful, destructive, wicked, lonely, murderous, and mortal—has its birth in that first meal. Through Advent we weep over the consequences of Adam and Eve’s meal in which they doubted God’s goodness and believed God to be withholding. Advent is necessary because of the separation caused by sin.
Advent is the season we observe the agony of war and hope for peace. We aspire to hope while we acknowledge our own despair. We long for love while confronting our inability to receive love from another or muster the courage to love another. The world watches for God’s light, peace, joy, salvation, and love to break into our world. We wait for the abundance, blessing, and eternal life of God that overpowers our sin and cleanses us. It was through a meal creation fell apart, and it’s through a meal that God is restoring all things, including us.’
– Brad Watson, A Guide for Advent: The Arrival of King Jesus.
‘If God was willing to wrap himself in rags and drink from a mother’s breast, then all questions about his love for you are off the table. You might question his actions, decisions, or declarations. But you can never, ever question his zany, stunning, unquenchable affection.
The moment Mary touched God’s face is the moment God made his case: there is no place he will not go. If he is willing to be born in a barnyard, then expect him to be at work anywhere—bars, bedrooms, boardrooms, and brothels. No place is too common. No person is too hardened. No distance is too far. There is no person he cannot reach. There is no limit to his love.
When Christ was born, so was our hope.
This is why I love Christmas. The event invites us to believe the wildest of promises: God became one of us so we could become one with him. He did away with every barrier, fence, sin, bent, debt, and grave. Anything that might keep us from him was demolished. He only awaits our word to walk through the door.’
– Max Lucado, Because of Bethlehem.
‘Shalom peace, the kind that the Prince of Peace came to bring at Christmas, is deeply rooted in the idea of healing. Shalom speaks of wholeness, a fixing of broken things, in every aspect of life. Shalom speaks of wholeness in our hearts before God, solace in our bodies and minds, right-relating with one another, justice in society, and more.
Christmas highlights the most important truth about shalom peace – that true peace is not found primarily in the absence of conflict or pain, but rather in the Presence of Someone. When we pray for the sick, we are inviting the Spirit of God to touch them and make them whole. When we work for peace in the city we love, we are partnering with God to bring wholeness to our streets. His Presence is Peace.
Loving Father, I am so aware of my own need for peace and healing. Make me an instrument of your wholeness in the world around me, by making me a person of Your Presence.’
– Dan Wilt, Within Our Reach.
‘It’s not just the Christmas story; rather, the entire redemptive story hinges on one thing— the eternal willingness of Jesus. Without his willingness, you and I would be without hope and without God. Without his willingness, we would be left with the power and curse of sin. Without his willingness, we would be eternally damned. During this season of celebrating don’t forget to stop and celebrate your Savior’s willingness. His willingness is your hope in life, death, and eternity.
But there is even more to be said. The Advent willingness of Jesus is your guarantee that he continues to be willing today. Right here, right now, he is willing to love you on your very worst day. Right now he is willing to forgive you again and again. Here and now he is willing to be patient as you continue to grow and mature. Right now he is willing to battle on your behalf against evil within and without. Here and now he is willing to teach you through his Word. Now he is willing to supply every one of your spiritual needs. Now he is willing to be faithful even when you’re not. He, right now, is willing to empower you when you’re weak and to restore you when you’ve fallen. He is willing to comfort you when you are discouraged and protect you when you’ve stepped into danger. And he remains willing to do everything necessary to feed, guide, sustain, and protect you until eternity is your final home.
You see, the Advent story reminds us that our past, present, and future hope rest not on our willingness, but on the willingness of the One for whom the angels sang, the shepherds worshiped, and the magi searched. Willing Jesus is the only hope for unwilling sinners!’
– Paul Tripp, Come let us Adore Him.
A Christmas Prayer
John wrote that Jesus was a light coming into the which couldn’t be extinguished. Lord, we know darkness – the darkness of sin. But we also know the darkness of sickness, of broken relationships, of heartache. We need Jesus to bring light to the dark places we travel through. May you experience the coming of Jesus into the broken pieces of life and his renewing of broken things. May you get a glimpse of a day when he will restore every broken thing. And may you be a carrier of his undying light into the broken darkness around you.