Christmas

‘Fear not’

In the past few weeks, a theme has emerged in my Advent singing and Scripture reading: fear.

Fear is all around us. A recent book about a fearmongering president is on the bestseller list. Politicians and pundits stoke a public paranoia, using it to boost their own power. Credible scientific reports alert us to the troubling facts surrounding present and future climate change. 

Christmas rush

Mel’s ‘Martha,’ left, enjoys Christmas cookies with her daughter Madison and her mother, Wendy Desmarais. (Photo courtesy of Mel Harms)

Mel’s ‘Mary’ pays close attention to the words of Jesus. (Photo courtesy of Mel Harms)

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. Everyone is so joyful! We get excited for tree decorating, Christmas shopping, starting our Christmas baking while playing Christmas carols in the background, and preparing for the many gatherings that are soon to follow.

Christmas: Let it be, let it go

As we celebrate Christmas, it may be helpful to sort out what is worth releasing for the enjoyment of the season and what is worth keeping, or even adding. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

A nativity scene is a reminder of the coming of the Christ Child, the reason for Christmas celebrations. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Amy Dueckman is pictured with her Christmas tree and musical decorations. (Photo courtesy of Amy Dueckman)

When Jill (a pseudonym) turns her calendar to December, she’ll read a message she wrote to herself a year ago: “Be intentional all through the month to not put pressure on myself and to avoid the stress of the holidays.” 

A most excellent Christmas

Remembering a Christmas homemade gift exchange: ‘I presented my brother Thomas with a jar filled with 150 encouraging notes.’ (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘My brother gave me a pillow inspired by my favourite movie, Ghostbusters, that he sewed himself.’ (Photo by Aaron Epp)

The author, dressed as Santa Claus in 2006. (Photo by Timothy Dyck)

I love Christmas. The tree, the lights, the music, the food, gathering with family and friends, special church services. I look forward to all of it. 

I still go with my siblings to the mall so that we can have our picture taken with Santa, and I’ve even dressed up as the jolly old elf a time or two (or three) myself.

Receiving is important

Ryan Siemens

The tale “The Christmas Guest,” as told by Johnny Cash on his album Christmas with Johnny Cash, is a fable about an old man, Conrad, who receives a message from an angel that the Lord will appear to him on Christmas Eve. Conrad readies his place, expectant for Jesus to knock at his door. But throughout the night, Jesus doesn’t appear as expected.

Anabaptist Christians celebrate Christmas around the world

To celebrate Christmas, members of Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia churches act out Bible stories in the style of wayang orang. (Photo courtesy of berita GKMI)

Jantine Huisman, as a child, poses with Christmas decorations. (Photo courtesy of Jantine Huisman)

Christian communities around the world celebrate Christmas, yet each culture has its own traditions. Here, Anabaptist brothers and sisters from different regions share how they celebrate Christmas.

Significant tidings

What are the significant stories in this issue? When I asked this question in the office, the answer came back: “They’re all significant.” This, our Christmas issue, is chock-full of stories to pay attention to—with our prayers and actions. 

Two international stories stand out—some good news and some heart-breaking news.

God with us with God

‘The Flight into Egypt,’ an icon from the late 15th century, currently housed in the Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece.

So I end with the question Ed asked me: ‘Are you ready for Christmas? (Photo sourced from ©istock.com/Manuel Faba Ortega)

Ryan Dueck

“Are you ready for Christmas?”

The question came from Ed, a cheerful clerk at Save-On-Foods, as I was picking up some milk.

What kind of response was he seeking? Was he asking if I had I finished all my Christmas shopping? If so, the answer would be, yes, mostly, meager though my efforts are.

Political nativity

Christmas in Sicily (Photo by Brandi Friesen Thorpe)

At Christmas time families journey to meet other family members. There is a Christmas tree up in the corner, and some twinkly lights afloat somewhere. Somewhere in the corner there is someone like me, wincing to the sound of so-called Christmas “music” (cough ... noise!), and a grandma or maybe grandpa has just pulled out something warm and baked from the oven. And, most likely, somewhere in a prominent position, on your mantle or even your lawn, you’ve set out the nativity scene.

The shepherd

I still think of myself as a shepherd. Every day, actually every night, I’m out there. I look for the lost, the wanderers and the weary, and I bring them home. It’s a living. At times, it’s easy; they know the way and I just help them along. Other times, it’s dark and cold, and I worry about predators in the shadows. My lost ones might—or might not—be in good shape.

Buy Nothing Day

Did you know that Thursday, November 27 was American Thanksgiving? You might not, since this holiday seems to have faded into the shadows of the sinister Black Friday—which is today.

I don’t really understand the history of Black Friday, and I’m too scared to google it, but as far as I know, it’s a day that celebrates excessive greed. Unfortunately, it’s made its way up to Canada, and everywhere I look I am bombarded with Black Friday blowout information. It makes me sad, especially since a part of me wants to partake in it so badly.

A "Merry Christmas" Story

During our trip to Canada for the Christmas break, I was surprised how many times I heard the same story. It goes something like this: They are trying to get us not to say "Merry Christmas" and to say "Happy Holidays" instead because someone might get offended. If they are offended by Christmas, they can go back to their own country. After all, if we were in their country, we would have to follow their traditions. 

Subscribe to RSS - Christmas