Advertisement

Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

Best Spiritual Read of 2008: ‘The Purpose of Christmas’

warren-purposeofchristmas.jpgA few weeks ago I received an invitation from Beliefnet co-founder and editor-in-chief teve Waldman to make note of my “Best Spiritual Read of 2008.”  One book clearly came to mind. It’s a pretty simple, straightforward book, though I’ve tried to remember a better or more challenging, more sublime, or more esoteric book to put forward.

Alas, though, there’s no getting around it: the one that was the best, the most challenging, the most sublime, and certainly the most spiritually powerful was so profoundly simple that it was simply profound: “The Purpose of Christmas” by Rick Warren. The book has joined Handel’s “Messiah” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” as the media that inspire me most at this time of the year outside of, of course, the Bible itself.

Consider the simple claim Warren starts with:

During the Christmas season, billions of people set aside their normal routines to decorate their homes, send out greeting cards, buy gifts, go to Christmas parties, attend church services, sing Christmas songs, watch Christmas TV specials, and travel long distances to be with their families. Christmas sights and sounds fill the air everywhere. There are stores, and even careers, that are exclusively dedicated to preparing for and celebrating this holiday. When Christmas comes, you can’t miss it. It’s everywhere.

Well, there’s no arguing that. Christmas is either the annual celebration of God come to earth, or it’s an annual tradition based on a myth. Christmas exists, but the question is: Does it exist as a valid celebration of the truth for which it stands? Or is it a nostalgic nod to an outdated religion of days gone by?

Warren goes on to point out three aspects for the purpose of Christmas that are woven throughout the biblical story and throughout out his book as well: celebration, salvation, and reconciliation.

The “celebration” part is a good challenge to consider. Why, he asks, don’t we celebrate the savior all year long? Yet Warren writes in a way that does alienate people who find time for Christ at Christmas but not throughout the rest of the year. He presents an invitation to consider a more purposeful and spiritually-driven life throughout the year.

“Salvation” isn’t a word that’s used a lot today, but it certainly separates what is supernatural from what is traditional about Christmas and Christians. All too often–especially in our political culture and in the media–Christianity is reduced to being portrayed as a system of political beliefs or a set of values or an agenda. In its essence, though, Christianity starts and ends in a supernatural and spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ that will continue in the next life. Those who don’t know that Jesus came for them personally are missing out on not only the meaning–but the power–of Christmas.

Finally, Warren writse about “reconciliation.” If the first commandment of Jesus was to “love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength,” the second is like it: “that you should love your neighbor as yourself.” These words, from Matthew 22, provide an exhortation to followers of Christ that should last all year long but be revisited at Christmastime. What if all Christians let the season pass without pursuing necessary reconciliation with family and friends?

Yes, “The Purpose of Christmas” was the best spiritual read of the year for me. A well-known literary agent once commented, “Rick Warren’s not necessarily a great writer, but his message sure seems to resonate.” His Christmas message resonated with me, and I hope some of its message helps me to be more faithful in the coming year.

Previous Posts

Academy Award Nominated Film Unbroken Releases on DVD
The highly acclaimed film Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie that tells the inspirational story of Louis Zamperini hits DVD on March 24, 2015. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Louis Zamperini won a personal meeting with Adolf Hitler, who complimented his fast finish. In 1941, Zamperini enlisted in

posted 9:19:32am Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Self/Less: 'God Created Man, Man Created Immortality'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71fWtJXEI0Q What would it really feel like to feel immortal and you know longer had to worry about failing health? Phoenix Biogenic offers this once in a lifetime offer where the new body will be genetically mastered to perfection. Only a select few are chosen to

posted 10:57:15am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

The New Trailer for CW’s ‘The Messengers’ Is Here, And It’s Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen
[youtube]https://youtu.be/61AfGNlXf9M [/youtube] CW’s “The Messengers”, starring Diogo Morgado from the hit series “Son of God”, centers around five individuals who die as a result of an earthly phenomenon. When they return to earth as Angels with unique abilities, they must band together

posted 11:13:54am Mar. 12, 2015 | read full post »

Open Letters to Oscar Night Standouts
The following is a guest post from one of our Entertainment contributors, Malayna Dawn. Enjoy! Dear John Travolta: We know you are multi-talented and have played many characters, but lately it seems like you may be having trouble expressing your true self – at least in ways that the public ca

posted 10:46:28am Mar. 04, 2015 | read full post »

We Bid Farewell to Leonard Nimoy
Friday, February 27th Leonard Nimoy, famously known for his role as Spock in the infamous Star Trek series, passed away at the age of 83. His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, stating that the cause was the end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nimoy publicly announced last

posted 2:25:26pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.