Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Quotes

I've been putting up a different "Getting ready for Christmas" quote every day of Advent so far on Facebook. And I think I'll start posting them here as well.


It is true, Advent is a time for waiting and preparing. And, some wise people such as G.K. Chesterton have said, "There is no more dangerous or disgusting habit than that of celebrating Christmas before it comes." But, we must remember that we are waiting and preparing for Christmas. This does not limit itself to physical preparations. But, to mental ones as well. Before the holiday arrives, now is the time to remember what it actually means so that we may be prepared for its celebration. Here are some quotes to get your thoughts started on what Christmas means, not only to me and to you but to the entire world itself:

The ones without a reference are my own.

God & Gifts:

"The triumph of a God who came near to bridge a separation forged long ago in the garden is a victory already won. The triumph Christians ask the world to join as we celebrate Christ’s birth is a triumph known from the beginning, foreseen by the prophets, heralded by John the Baptist, and cherished by witnesses whose voices still cry out the incredible news of the Christmas story." A Slice of Infinity

"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God." C.S. Lewis

"He, through whom time was made, was made in time;
and He, older by eternity that the world itself, was younger in age than many of His servants in the world;
He, who made man, was made man;
He was given existence by a mother whom He brought into existence;
He was carried in hands which He formed;
He nursed at breasts which He filled;
He cried like a babe in the manger in speechless infancy -- this Word without which human eloquence is speechless!" Sermon on Christmas, by Augustine of Hippo.

"[St. Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem." St. Francis and the Christmas Creche.

"There were three things prefigured and promised by the gifts in the cave of Bethlehem concerning the Child who received them; that He should be crowned like a King: that He should be worshipped like a God; and that He should die like a man. And these things would sound like Eastern flattery, were it not for the third." G.K. Chesterton in G. K.’s Weekly, December 12th, 1931

"The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic His giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves." St. Nicholas of Myra

We give gifts for Christmas to be reminded of God's gift of His Son and His incarnational presence on Earth. We give things up during Lent to be reminded of what God gave up for us (His life). But, what if His death, by which we inherit eternal life, was also a gift and His human life part of his sacrifice (becoming humble and meek for us)?

Season & Celebration:

‎"And so at last they all came to the Last Homely House [Elrond's house], and found its doors flung wide.

Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway. They stayed long in that good house, fourteen days at least, and they found it hard to leave. Bilbo would have gladly stopped there for ever and ever..." I couldn't find a good quote about Middle-Earth's Yule-time. But, this quote from Tolkien's The Hobbit reminds me of the loving time we spend together around Christmas.

"At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows."
Shakespeare in Love's Labours Lost.

"There is a perfectly natural parallel between a religion that defies the world and a ritual that defies the weather.... in winter even a rich man receives some faint hint of the problem of a poor man; he may avoid being hungry, but he cannot always avoid being cold. To choose that moment of common freezing for the assertion of common fraternity is, in its own intrinsic nature, a foreshadowing of
what we call the Christian idea. It involves the suggestion that joy comes from within and not from without. It involves the suggestion that peril and the potentiality of pain are themselves a ground for gratitude and rejoicing.... during the Winter Feast, whether Pagan or Christian, there always was in some degree the idea of extending the enjoyment to others, of passing round the wine or seating the wanderer by the hearth. It is no controversial point against the Christians that they felt they could take up and continue such traditions among the Pagans; it only shows that the Christians knew a Christian thing when they saw it." G.K. Chesterton in the Winter Feast.

"Three things to go by the name of Christmas. One is a religious festival. This is important and obligatory for Christians; but as it can be of no interest to anyone else, I shall naturally say no more about it here. The second is a popular holiday, an occasion for merry-making and hospitality. If it were my business to have a 'view' on this, I should say that I much approve of merry-making...." C. S. Lewis' What Christmas Means to Me. (The third is the abuse of Christmas, the obligatory 'presents;' "Things are given as presents which no mortal ever bought for himself... Have we really no better use for materials and for human skill and time than to spend them all on this rubbish?")

Leave it to Christianity which sees the world as it truly is, full of paradoxes, to know that the beginning of the year should be concerned with the end of time. This is because, the end of time is really our beginning. Advent is waiting not only for the birth of Christ, but also for his return to us. At the same time, Advent is waiting not only for our return to Christ, but also for our birth into heaven.

Christ came into darkness (John 1:5). And He still does. Through His Word and Sacraments, He breaks into our sin-wracked lives. In every age and throughout the course of a person's lifetime, He brings to us the redemption won by His incarnation, death, and resurrection. In that sense, Christmas really is timeless." Gene Edward Veith

Humor & Verse

"I want to wish all of you a Merry Christ-Christmas. I say it that way, so if the atheists try to take the Christ out of Christmas, there's still one left." -- Stephen Colbert

There is something extremely beautiful in a group of children singing (shouting) their beliefs aloud with all of their voice, soul, and being although they may still be off-key.

Prophecy & Scripture

“Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah,
and bring him in to his people.
With your hands contend for him,
and be a help against his adversaries.”
Moses' blessing to Judah.

"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.... And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.... And he shall be their peace." Micah 5:2, 4, & 5.

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