Dec 05 2017

Pastor Mike at Aztec Methodist Church

One of my pet peeves comes into play around this time of year. It bothers me that Christmas has been hijacked. Stores start having “Christmas” decorations and toys set out from September on. Most of the decorations have nothing to do with Christ’s birth. Few of the “Christmas” songs that flood the radio have the slightest relation to the Incarnation of our Savior. Only a small fraction of the “Christmas” movies that show continually on a few cable channels even mention worship of God as part of the holiday. This was summed up for me in a pair of cartoon panels put out by Alternative Celebrations. The first showed Mary and Joseph approaching a motel with a large “No Vacancy” sign. The second panel shows the back of the Motel with Santa and the reindeer lounging around the pool. Too often we let other things crowd out the real meaning of the events of 2000 years ago.

Unfortunately this is not a new phenomenon. When Oliver Cromwell and the puritans took over the government of England in 1653, they made celebration of Christmas illegal, other than in Christian worship. They felt that the celebrations of this holy day had become so corrupt and secular that they were irredeemable. After Cromwell’s death, the Royalists returned to control of the country in 1660. Celebrating Christmas again became legal in England, though for several centuries the celebrations were much more subdued, and the focus on Christ was maintained.

In western Christian worship, the season of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Advent, which comes from the Latin root meaning “coming”, begins the church year. It does so not by looking back to the birth in Bethlehem, but by looking forward to the coming of Christ in victory and judgment at the close of the age. On the first Sunday our scriptures focus on Christ’s return. The next two Sundays focus on preparing our hearts for this coming by repentance (following the call of John the Baptist for repentance). Only on the Sunday immediately before Christmas does our lectionary talk of the promises of grace and joy given to Mary and Joseph by the Angels. Then on Christmas Eve we finally begin the celebration of Christ’s first coming and its significance for the world. That celebration of Christ’s birth continues for the 12 days of Christmastide. It ends with Epiphany on January 6 as the coming of the magi is celebrated. (Note that the 12th is the day that the Eastern Orthodox Church chose to celebrate Christmas. No one knows that day that Jesus was actually born.)

May this year be a year in which we reclaim Christmas as a season to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and the promise of forgiveness and grace He brought into the world.

Aztec United Methodist Church

Sunday Schedule

8:45am   Sunday School
10:00am Worship Service

Community Assistance

Community assistance is available between 8:30am and 1:00pm from Monday through Thursday.

Upcoming Sermons

December 10
Preparing for Life
2 Peter 3:8-15
Mark 1:1-8

December 17
Passing on the Invitation
Isaiah 61:1-7
John 1:6-28

December 24
Saying Yes to God
2 Samuel 7:1-11
Luke 1:26-38

December 31
Our Covenant with God
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
Luke 2:22-40

Child Care Available

Child care is available between 8:45am and 11:00am so that you are more easily able to attend the service and Sunday school.

Methodist News

Daily Devotion

daily words of wisdom and faith
  • Today’s Reflection WHAT WE CELEBRATE during Advent and Christmas is the completely new way God comes to us in Jesus Christ. We also celebrate the new persons we are becoming because God sent Jesus, God’s own beloved Son, to the world God loved so much. … Our Advent celebrations are based on our hope that […]

Verse of the Day