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Christmas, 2017

My Christmas homily this year is two-fold:

1st: “when did Christmas die?” And

2nd “how do we bring it back?

The year Christmas died

By Daniel Henninger

December 23, 2015

Remember this was written 2 years ago:  As we moved into December and what for some time has been called “the holiday season,” the office of diversity and inclusion at the university of Tennessee issued a “best practices” directive for the campus to “ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise. A Christmas party in disguise? Has it come to this? This is the year Christmas died as a public event in the united states. (2015) our (duty is to resurrect it in 2017) we know this after touring the historic heart of public Christmas—fifth avenue in New York city. For generations, American families have come to New York in December to swaddle themselves in the glow and spirit of Christmas—shops, restaurants, brownstones, the evergreen trees along park avenue, bar mirrors and, most of all, fifth avenue’s department-store windows. You couldn’t escape it, and why would you want to? A friend, an ardent atheist, would be inconsolable if he couldn’t sing Handel’s entire “messiah” with 3,000 other revelers this month at Lincoln center. Even if the only God you worship is yourself, December in New York has always been about the bustling good cheer flowing from the Christian holiday. For many, December required a pilgrimage to Saks fifth avenue, lord & Taylor and Bergdorf Goodman. No matter the weather, people walked the mile from 38th street to 59th street and jammed sidewalks to see these stores’ joyful Christmas windows. Stay home. This year fifth avenue in December is about . . . Pretty much nothing, or worse. To be sure, the magnificent Rockefeller center Christmas tree still stands, and directly across on fifth avenue is St. Patrick’s cathedral, its facade washed and hung with a big green wreath. But walk up or down the famous avenue this week and what you and your children will see is not merely Christmas scrubbed, but what one can only describe as the anti-Christmas. Forget public nativity scenes, as court fiat commanded us to do years ago. On fifth avenue this year you can’t even find dear old Santa Claus. Or his elves. Christmas past has become Christmas gone. The erasure of Christmas between the grinding stones of secular fanaticism will persist. Eventually the holiday will be forbidden, forgotten and filed away in attic boxes. But maybe God, in his usual mysterious way, is nudging us back toward the beginning. Once the inevitable federal office of diversity and inclusion has joined with the commercial cynics at Saks and Bergdorf’s to suppress even Santa, what pretext will parents have to give gifts to their Christmas-cleansed children? day? In the post-Christmas era, the infant Jesus and Santa Claus will go back to the catacombs of early Christian life, where you won’t have to say happy holidays to anyone. Christmas as we know it will die off, and what will be left on December 25th will look a lot like thanksgiving, but smaller.   

There is a glimmer of hope, our president has brought back: “Merry Christmas” that is a start. And at least Linus still believes: “Linus recites a passage from St. Luke’s gospel the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds to herald Christ’s birth in a manger. “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” he says nonchalantly,: Ahh, those were the days”.

Have you heard “who invented Christmas?”  Have you seen the holiday movie “The man who invented Christmas”! A remake of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”.  The man who invented Christmas, the title character is Charles Dickens, whose story a Christmas carol, popularized the secular holiday in England.

I thought God invented Christmas!  If you are here for the movie you have been misled!  Oh! But it is only a movie!  When critics allege that Christmas was "reinvented" by Washington Irving and Charles Dickens, they are correct, the secular celebration of Christmas had to be "reinvented" in order survive.

With “A Christmas Carol”, Dickens captured the zeitgeist of the mid-Victorian revival of the Christmas holiday. He has been acknowledged as an influence on the modern western observance of Christmas and inspired a secular revival.

You ask: what is the meaning of zeitgeist? (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) as in the dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society in a particular period in time. Kind of scary in 2017.

So, who really invented Christmas?  Our father, the creator of the universe who sent his son down to earth in the flesh to live among us as an example and then to die for our sins and prepare a place for us with him in eternity.

It is called “The Grand Miracle” the Incarnation:  The act whereby the son of God assumed human nature, without losing his divine nature: the mystery by which Jesus Christ, the eternal word was made man, to accomplish the work of our salvation.”  C.S. Lewis defined the incarnation this way “That God dived down into the bottom of his creation and has come up bringing the whole redeemed nature on his shoulder.”

The secular, humanist, money grabbing world has tried to kill it or better to replace it. Kidnap it with…me’ism.


I read an interesting article in a religion column recently written by a Lutheran pastor.  In the earthly church today, there is a new emphasis upon personal experience and feeling. The author read an article talking about something called “sola feels” (like in sola scripture (meaning standing alone). Sola feels! He said he thought surely, this is a spoof, but sadly the truth of it is more widespread than we think. The article explained that an influential group of the nation’s top progressive evangelical authors, speakers and bloggers recently met in Portland, Oregon, to draft the doctrine of “sola feels”. It means and teaches that all spiritual truths only become true once they are filtered through and accepted by our feelings. Thus, the things that make us feel bad are wrong and the things that give us a happy feeling are true.


Whoa! You cannot base your salvation on feelings they are vulnerable to the devil’s twisting and misuse. Our salvation is not based on whether we feel saved, or feel good or are prosperous, but upon God’s sure word and promise of our salvation with the promises that Christ and Christ alone has saved us from ourselves and our sins.  See the mess we have gotten ourselves into…only one way out, Jesus Christ!  How can you find your way out when you do not even believe in Jesus and you only believe in yourself! A recent survey showed only half (50%) of Americans believe Christ was born of a virgin. Without the grand miracle, there is no incarnation.

Now part 2: the positive solution!

“Behold, I bring you good tiding of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour, which is Christ the lord.” St. Luke2:10. True story!


Christmas, like Christ lives in each of us and will never die, unless you allow it.  How do we reclaim Christmas?  Accept the gift! Individually!  The gift of Christmas is not just a once a year event, it is a daily event.


Come to the stable daily and worship the incarnate God using baby steps, then as you mature in your Christian fellowship follow our lord as he heals the sick, preaches the sermon on the mount, tells us parables, (earthly stories with heavenly meanings) put into practice the great commandment the lord‘s commandment: “Love God completely and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”


This gift from Christ does have a condition, acceptance and acknowledgment that we received it and will follow the instructions contained in the package.  This is one gift that keeps on giving year-round, bringing us forgiveness, salvation, grace, sanctification, true everlasting Christian fellowship. Then when our days in this mortal life are done, there is one last gift in the package, eternal life with our lord.

A few weeks ago, there was an article in the paper titled “Holiday season is a gift, not a burden” or put in the Christian wording “Christ is a gift not a burden.”  When you think about the gift God has given us has become to many a burden, it becomes a “Have to do”. I have to go to church, I have to talk to him in prayer daily, I have to read his book of instructions (scripture) on how to operate the human machine properly. Participate in the life of the church and receive the sacraments, love others.  When you think about the gift from God as a gift then it becomes a “Want to or get to” then the gift is a true privilege the being faithful is not a burden but a joy.

The congregation maybe tired of hearing this but I have to say again, “why would anyone want to spend eternity with Christ when they spend so little time with him on earth. Ask yourself!

We all know the Christmas story, the star, the long journey on the gentle donkey, no room in the in, the stable with the manger and only the animals to keep the holy family warm. The shepherds in the fields the angels.  So, what are we to do with this event that happened once in the history of the world and has been celebrated by the world in one way or another for over 2,000 years?  

My calling as a priest in God’s holy catholic church is to preach the Gospel and provide the sacraments to God’s people. I don’t have a mega church, I do not have a television program. You are my congregation however my other job is the same as yours and the more I important one is to be faithful to our lord. In that spirit we are the church, we are God’s people we are called to be faithful to him.  It is up to each and every one of us to keep Christmas alive, in our hearts and in our daily lives. If all who call themselves Christians would just be faithful. Christ was born in Bethlehem that he might be born in you.


Collect for Christmas

“Grant that we being regenerate (renewed/transformed) may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit”. May the love of God, the mercy of Jesus Christ and the power of his holy spirit be with you this day and throughout the year. Amen

Father Michael Robertson

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