Classic and contemporary excerpts.

Poor substitute

The Christmas tree has taken the place of the altar in too much of our modern Christmas observance.

—Earl Riney in Church Management

More than an economic high

Our whole society … is focused on the celebration of Christmas. With the excessive commercialism which begins in our country immediately after Halloween (once it started the day after Thanksgiving), with the secular gaiety and extravagant glitz, with the sickening efforts to sanctify profit-making, the “Reason for the season” (that’s the by now too-commonplace cliché among evangelicals) is ignored more often than not. The mind-boggling mystery of God-in-the-flesh tends to become a mere stimulus for our economy.

—Vernon Grounds in a 1991 Christmas letter

The pattern of Bethlehem

At Christmas we say much of the meaning of His coming to earth, the mission, the message, but we sometimes overlook the manner of His Advent. God set it up in a pattern we never would have dreamed. He was born in a stable to a lowly peasant couple in an insignificant town in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire. Think how we would have arranged it [today] in this publicity-mad day! That same pattern my Lord followed all His days; and the Church might take a hint today, when Hollywood sets the style.

—Vancer Havner in A Treasury of Vance Havner

Blessed Advent

As Man alone, Jesus could not have saved us; as God alone he would not. Incarnate, he could and did.

—Malcolm Muggeridge in Jesus

Love Came Down at Christmas

Love came down at Christmas,

love all lovely, love divine;

love was born at Christmas

star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,

love incarnate, love divine;

worship we our Jesus

what shall be our sacred sign?

Love shall be our token

love ...

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