People of the Book
A Blog about Book Publishing from a Catholic Perspective

The Meaning of Christmas

December 3rd, 2007

God with Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas (Paraclete) is a lovely, enormously appealing book that is a companion for prayer and reflection throughout the Christmas season — Advent to Epiphany. It features splendid writers: Scott Cairns, Emilie Griffin, Richard John Neuhaus, Kathleen Norris, Eugene Peterson, and Luci Shaw. It also contains reproduction of great art.

In their reflections, the contributors return to the paradox of Christmas. The season is full of stress and troubles. We fume at iits commercialism and its busyness. And yet it celebrates the Incarnation, which means that God entered our messy world just as it is. Eugene Peterson puts it eloquently:

    There is too much stuff, too many things. And all of it festively connects up with Jesus and God. Every year Christmas comes around again and forces us to deal with God in the context of demanding and inconvenient children; gatherings of family members, many of whom we spend the rest of the year avoiding; all the crasser forms of greed and commercialized materiality; garish lights and decorations. Or maybe the other way around: Christmas forces us to deal with all the mess of our humanity in the context of God who has already entered that mess in the glorious birth of Jesus.

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