A Reminder of Resurrection Amid Advent

N.T. Wright (collective gasp) offers a helpful reminder in Surprised by Hope to not let our Christmas celebrations overshadow the centrality of Easter:

“Christmas has now far outstripped Easter in popular culture as the real celebratory center of the Christian year – a move that completely reverses the New Testament’s emphasis. We sometimes try, in hymns, prayers, and sermons, to build a whole theology on Christmas, but it can’t in fact sustain such a thing. We then keep Lent, Holy Week, and Good Friday so thoroughly that we have hardly any energy left for Easter except for the first night and day. Easter, however, should be the center. Take that away and there is, almost literally, nothing left…Take away the stories of Jesus’ birth, and you lose only two chapters of Matthew and two of Luke. Take away the resurrection, and you lose the entire New Testament and most of the second-century fathers as well.” (pp. 23 ,43)

6 thoughts on “A Reminder of Resurrection Amid Advent

  1. The two holidays are kind of like baptism and communion. One inaugurates the Christian faith, and the other celebrates the ongoing significance of Jesus' life and Lordship.

  2. On the one hand, Christ did not save the elect by merely taking flesh and being born of a woman.Yet Jesus was declared a Savior at birth–not "someone who will probably be the Savior" or "someone we hope will be the Savior." God's plan of redemption has never been tentative or conditional. This was pointed out from the pulpit this past week.

  3. Good thoughts, y'all. There's always a risk in posting quotations out of context, but to clarify a little more, Wright isn't saying that we should do away with Christmas or that it isn't important. He does not want to separate Christmas from Easter (good point, Scott/Dad) or discard the Advent narratives. He views them as different aspects of the unified life of Christ. He is just arguing that we have taken Christmas too far and it has overshadowed the fulcrum of Christianity, at least as evidenced by what the church deems important through their celebrations. He leans on Paul in emphasizing the importance of the resurrection, who says that if Christ is not raised, then our preaching and faith are in vain.

  4. For the record, I think it's a great quotation. It's also helpful to remember that as we preach, or hear the word preached, at Christmas, we should rejoice in the way that day looks forward to the Resurrection Day (and beyond). That should also put to rest the concern pastors sometimes have about how to preach "yet another Christmas sermon."

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