Breakfast Links for Christmas Day, 12/15/12: A Christmas Warning; The Gift of Christmas; Why Christmas Matters

BREAKFAST LINKS 12/25/12:

Tim Dalrymple, Patheos/Philosophical Fragments: “Yet God was not compelled to do any of this. God Himself is the author and arbiter of all the rules. There is no higher authority above God that forces him to follow regulations or fulfill requirements. God might have annihilated humankind and started over; God might have changed the rules so that no sacrifice and no ransom were necessary. It is not that God could not have done these things; it is that He would not, because God is changeless and just, righteous, and true. All that compels God is His own character, which is not compulsion but self-expression.”

“We should not deny the un-reason of the season. We should not deny that the incarnation is paradoxical and the story seems impossible, even offensive to ordinary human reason. We should celebrate it, for our faith hinges upon it. If ours were not a God of the impossible and the unexpected, a God who overturns the order of the world, then we would still be dead in our sin. And if God did not choose the insignificant, the weak, the foolish, the suffering, and the oppressed, then what hope would we have?”

“God showed us what it means to sacrifice ourselves in love for one another. “If you love me,” Jesus told Peter, “feed my sheep.” The compassion of God is set upon all of his creatures. When we give ourselves, sacrifice ourselves, when we enter into the trenches with one another, when we restore broken relationships and deepen the bonds of friendship and family, when we give even to those who have wronged us or failed us or disappointed us, then we are honoring what God showed us in Christmas. We are honoring Christ, born in Bethlehem, murdered on the cross of Golgotha, who rose into the heights, and yet who dwells even now in the least of these.”

 

Karen Spears Zacharias, Patheos/Karen Spears Zacharias: “As I was drying her off, the words of that old hymn that we sang so often growing up came to me again: Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus. 

After I brushed her, Poppy found a spot on the carpet by my bed and curled up, contented to just be with me, because it’s here, right beside me, that Poppy feels her safest, her most loved.

That ever-present assurance, the one that says, “You are not alone. I am here, right beside you,”  is the greatest of all gifts.

It is the gift of Christmas.

The babe in the manager, and the man upon the cross, and the empty tomb that followed.”

 

Bill Blankschaen, Patheos/Bill in the Blanks: “My youngest son got some cool monster trucks for his birthday. They need some paint and decals. Sounds like a job for — SuperDad! (I’m jotting down this abrupt post ‘cuz my cape is still thawing out.) And surely something else need assembling somewhere. And I still need to find some more batteries. And I could’ve sworn I have a wife around here somewhere in need of a hug.

So go. Calmly put down the mouse and step away from the keyboard. Go love someone for real. Be Jesus in this fallen world.

Go ahead. It’s OK. Have Merry Christmas!”

 

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering