Thursday, December 17, 2009

Discovering Christmas

Already, this has been a really wonderful Christmas, and a huge part of it has been the excitement and wonder. Even before December (and how can it be that it is already December 17th?) I began reading quite a few books about Christmas and the birth of Christ. One was a compilation by various authors, O Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. In it are a selections from a few favorite authors, including Timothy Keller. Many of the contributions were meaningful to me, but one that I read first really made me think in a way I hadn't before. It was written by Martin Luther.

As you know, Martin Luther is credited for starting the Protestant Reformation. He protested the status quo of the Roman Catholic church when he nailed the 95 theses to the door. (Okay, I have to say here that I'm fascinated by Luther, the Reformation and the entire early history of the church)

In the past I've only read about him; I've never read his writings. Martin Luther is amazing! I loved reading his chapter in this book. It was on Mary. Growing up non-denominational protestant, I'd never thought much about Mary. The emphasis was always on Christ. Jesus was revered, not Mary. Luther wasn't saying otherwise but he painted a beautiful picture of the Maiden Mary, slightly speculative, but compelling and beautiful at the same time. I guess I'd expected something dry, something concrete and though he did provide that, this concrete truth came with the nuances of a story, speculating Mary's thoughts. I found that his writings were a joy to read.

In this chapter I read he ended with, "Truly it is marvelous in our eyes that God should place a little child in the lap of a virgin and that all our blessedness should lie in him. And this Child belongs to all mankind. God feeds the world through a Babe nursing at Mary's breast. This must be out daily exercise: to be transformed into Christ, being nourished by this food. Then will the heart be suffused with all joy and will be strong and confident against every assault. "

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