Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
December 24th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Quote of the Day: Pope Benedict XVI on the Simplicity of Christmas

Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God’s humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity. Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light

via Text of Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas Eve homily – Yahoo! News.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


4 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Pope Benedict XVI on the Simplicity of Christmas”
  1. When Benedict suggests displeasure that the season’s evolution into a bright ‘festival of lights’ has hidden the humble coming of the One True Light, I hope nobody dares to think he is upset that the spirit of the Nativity is being replaced by a spirit of Hannukkah in our general culture 🙂 This could be a dangerous new way to spin the war on Christmas.

    [mostly kidding – but it got me thinking maybe moving the feast of the Nativity to the arbitrary date of Dec 25 was not merely an attempt by Christians to usurp the pagan Solstice but also aimed at upstaging the lingering sentiment among Jewish believers for the Maccabee Festival of Lights? In which case the reversion of Christmas to bright lights and yule logs is just another example of ‘what goes around comes around’.]

    • You know, that’s not a bad thought to pursue, actually. Chrysostom had a lot to say about Christmas, and…. really hated lingering Judaism in the Church. Umm….

      • Thanks for running with it a little, Joel. Was Chrysostom contemporary with the earliest celebrations of Dec 25?

        I’m in a little over my head, but offhand I cannot think of another Jewish holiday whose ‘spirit’ is more opposed to my own view of the Incarnation – which sees it as a divine repudiation of second temple racial and political hopes and especially the run-of-the-mill Jewish apocalyptic.

        The thought goes nowhere if it cannot be reasonably assumed that at the time at which the fathers settled on Dec 25 as Christ’s official ‘birthday’ there was still a felt need to counteract within the Christian community the tendency of Hannukkah to glorify those second temple fantasies at this time of the year.

        • John, I’ve posted a few things from John C. today… he was still involved with the 25th celebration dating, I think

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