‘Fury as primary school tells pupils to say “Baby Boy Jesus” instead of “Lord Jesus” while singing Away In A Manger so that pupils of all faiths can join in.’ (Daily Mail)
‘School slammed by Christians after changing “Lord Jesus” lyric in Away in a Manger.’ (Daily Star)
‘Parents Outraged as London School Downgrades Jesus from “Lord” in “Away in a Manger”‘ (CBN News)
These were some of the headlines a few weeks ago, when it was learned that children at Whitehall Primary School in Chingford, Essex, had been told by their head teacher to not to sing ‘little Lord Jesus’, but rather, ‘baby boy Jesus’.…
Simon Ponsonby is a well-respected church leader, Bible teacher, and author.
He has written about how, after 30 years of ministry, he realised that his faith had grown somewhat cold. He felt disappointed by the drift he saw in his own denomination (the Church of England), and discouraged by the moral and spiritual failings of some of his friends and former role models. In his own life and ministry, he had become spiritually dry, tired, and inward-looking.…
Bible commentator William Hendriksen, while expressing some sympathy for artistic representations of biblical scenes, rightly asks if some images of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20) give the correct impression.
Take, as an example, ‘Good Tidings’ by the artist William Plockhurst.
‘The sheep are huddled together in some kind of pen. Right near them are a few shepherds. Leaning against one of these sturdy men is the faithful shepherd’s dog.…
It was the 31-year-old Charles Dickens, of course, who invented the modern Christmas. Giving himself just six weeks to come up with Christmas ghost story that would be released in time for the holiday, he came up with A Christmas Carol.
Starring Dan Stevens as Dickens himself, and Christopher Plummer as Scrooge, The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the story of the writing of A Christmas Carol, with characters from the story interacting with the author himself and so revealing insights into both the writer’s life and his story. …
Ian Paul has commented on the thoughts of David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, about the distinctive needs of occasional church attenders (i.e. those who might attend an annual carol service, but not much else).
In addition to some sensible, if unremarkable, suggestions (stick to traditional words of carols, mention other events coming up in your calendar, and so on) David Walker offers the following advice:-
Ian Paul rightly asks, Why? Why is it really not a good idea to preach a sermon at a carol service? …
At Christmas, fact and fiction, truth and legend, are mixed so thoroughly that even preachers include what they should have left out, and leave out what they should have included.
The late Dick France wrote:-
Steve Matthew has six ‘thou shalt nots’ in connection with preaching from the Bible’s nativity accounts. I summarise:-
Don’t skip the genealogy in Matthew 1. Even a person with a fairly limited knowledge of the Old Testament will find that many of the names fairly leap off the page: men and woman, saints and sinners, Jews and Gentiles.
To the seasonally tongue-tied among us, Donald Whitney suggests that the following could get a meaningful conversation going in almost any Christmas situation. It will be noticed that the later questions in the list would help in moving the conversation to a deeper level:-
What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?
What was your best Christmas ever? Why?
What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever given?
And there were in the same country children keeping watch over their stockings by the fireplace.
And Lo! Father Christmas came upon them; and they were sore afraid.
And Father Christmas said unto them: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people who can afford them. For unto you will be given great feasts of turkey, pudding and cake; and many presents, wrapped in bright paper, lying beneath a tree adorned with tinsel, coloured balls and lights.…