Three wise ways to see Christmas by Mark Turman, DMin for Denison Forum
Have you been to London? Do you know Downton Abbey?
I’ve had the privilege of touring London. My wife and I liked Downton Abbey so much we’ve watched it several times. (We’re currently enmeshed in the British series Call the Midwife.)
Maybe it’s the accents we like.
London in the 1800s would have had some compelling attractions. Charles Spurgeon’s preaching dominated the city. Thousands came to hear “the Prince of Preachers” at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Evangelical preachers are still learning from him today.
This was also the time of the famed author Charles Dickens. Known for many great works, during the Christmas season we are drawn into the power of Christmas by Dickens’ 1843 story, A Christmas Carol. Since its publication, this iconic work has never been out of print. Almost daily every December there is some reference to it.
Just last night I saw a car commercial featuring Ebenezer Scrooge offering me a new ride.
You remember this tale of transformation. If not, spoiler alert: the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future so disturb Ebeneezer that he becomes a changed man.
That idea of Christmas past, present, and future finds a parallel in holy Scripture.
The gospel at Christmas
Titus 2:11–14 is one of Paul’s great summaries of the gospel:
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we waitfor the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (NIV, emphasis added).
In these four verses, Paul helps us consider Christmas in three wise ways.
1. We need to understand Christmas past.
Verse 11 says that “the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” The story of Jesus bringing salvation happened in time, place, and space. The coming of Jesus in the flesh in a cradle and then to the cross is the hinge of all history.