Bringing the Text to Life

O Holy Nightmare Matthew 24:36-44

How have we managed to transform the Christmas season from an awe-filled consideration of "O Holy Night" into an awful "O holy nightmare"? Isn''t it time we rediscovered the real Christ of Christmas, the Christ who came (as that old revival saying put it) not to "see through you," but to "see you through"?


"Be prepared." Jesus said it, Paul emphasized it, Matthew reiterated it, and eventually even the Boy Scouts picked it up as their own mantra. The season of Advent begins today with its own admonition for Christians to "be prepared." But for what are we called to be prepared ? Are we preparing our hearts and spirits to receive the coming of the Christ child into the world - or are we preparing for a final month of frenzied shopping, holiday headaches and heartburn, economic homicide (that is, willfully sacrificing your bank account), a 10-pound weight gain, endless renditions of the same one dozen Christmas songs (one for every age group imaginable), suicidal shopping mall traffic, and the general atmosphere of surliness, desperation, depression, anxiety and rage that accompanies all of these? Caught up in a consumer Christmas, we can easily find that instead of preparing to sing "O Holy Night," we find ourselves living out one "holy nightmare."

One of the most obvious signs of the...

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