Christmas should have long lasting effects, but often it comes in the form of debt. Every year I read about how people will be paying off Christmas debt for the months leading up to the next Christmas, and then the cycle restarts. (Interestingly, I found most of these stories come from U.K. news outlets – American writers seem more concerned with finding the best credit cards for paying off Christmas debt.
Rather than using the monthly billing statements as a reminder of that Christmas spirit, I suggest that you keep playing those Christmas carols, reread the Gospel of Luke’s account of the Christmas story, and watch George C. Scott play Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. These are timeless, not seasonal messages. Or, if you want something a little different, I recommend Edward Hermann’s telling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Christmas, or the story behind I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Christmas day, for Longfellow, provides an important perspective on grief.
As we enter the new year, I offer the immortal words of Ebenezer Scrooge, the crabby old miser who became an incurable Christmas enthusiast overnight:
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
About Corey Sharpe
Where do we get our beliefs?
Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology.
From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ.
Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles.
I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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Thanks for your words of wisdom!
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
Beautiful link to “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day”