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Excitement at Xmas #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

Well, here we are at one of the most difficult letters in the A to Z challenge. It is almost impossible not to cheat for X. In an earlier challenge I cheated by using X to represent the Greek letter Chi, Χ. Chi is the first letter of the Greek word  Xristos.

This time I am using a word beginning with EX as well as an abbreviated form of Christmas. Xmas is another way of writing Christmas. The X represents the Greek letter Chi. It is an shortened form of Christ.

Excitement is definitely part of Xmas. Children who hang up a stocking for Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) to fill are often too excited to sleep at first. Then they wake early in the morning eager to discover what has been stuffed into their stockings.

Was Mary excited when she heard the news from the angel that she was to be the mother of the Messiah? She must have experienced many emotions. The shepherds were probably excited when they found the baby just as the angels had said. The magi (or wise men) are the subject of a wonderful poem, Journey of the Magi by TS Eliot. The feelings he describes them having do not include excitement.

I am sure there was rejoicing in heaven when the saviour of the world was born in Bethlehem. That is not much different from excitement.

A carol, which conveys some of the excitement of Christmas, is Come and join the celebration it’s a very special day.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4

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Unwrapping #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

Do you like unwrapping gifts? Or perhaps you prefer wrapping them to give to someone special.

I have begun to unwrap the Christmas story in this A to Z Challenge. There are five more posts to come.

Christmas is a time when many people give and receive presents. Unfortunately some of the wrapping paper available for sale in the western world is not environmentally friendly. Paper requires trees to be grown and harvested. Pulp from trees is one of the raw materials from which paper is made. Much paper can be recycled, but there is a problem with wrapping paper. Some of it is decorated with aluminium foil. This sort cannot be recycled as it is too difficult to separate the foil from the paper. As a result our local council will not accept any wrapping paper for recycling.

Instead people are encouraged to find other ways of wrapping presents. Fabric bags or squares may be reused. Brown paper may be recycled. Perhaps brown paper could be brightened up with coloured string (re-usable) or ribbon. Rosettes and reels of plastic ribbon are sold in many stationery shops. These are not recyclable. Perhaps we should all think carefully about what we give for Christmas presents and how we present them (if you’ll excuse the pun).

Back to the Christmas story. When we read the gospel stories in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 as well as St John the Evangelist’s wonderful opening passage (John 1:1-18) we begin to perceive the wonder and excitement. A Bible with cross-references (or indeed a website such a Bible Gateway) allows us to look back to prophecies about the Messiah’s birth. We can see that this was something God planned and revealed to prophets hundreds of years before it happened.

Unwrapping reveals what is inside. As a new-born baby Jesus was wrapped in strips of cloth, known as swaddling bands. After his death he was wrapped in strips of cloth, known as grave-clothes. Those were left neatly in the tomb when he was raised from the dead. Luke 24:1-12.

A carol which asks what we can give the Christ-child is Christina Rosetti’s In the bleak midwinter It also mentions the animals traditionally associated with the stable where Jesus was born.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4

I am also linking this post to WordPress’s new monthly challenge #WordPrompt for which the word is Green.

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Thanksgiving and travel #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

My posts so far in this A to Z Challenge about Christmas have been entirely about the first Christmas over 2000 years ago. Nowadays Christians and many other people celebrate Christmas with thanksgiving enjoying a Christmas dinner not unlike that associated with Thanksgiving Day in North America. They possibly travel long distances to be with family members. Services are held in Christian churches to celebrate and give thanks for the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas presents are given and received.

The Magi travelled a long way to find the Christ-child. Mary and Joseph travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, then to Jerusalem, where Jesus was presented at the temple in accordance with Jewish customs. Anna gave thanks to God as she recognised the Christ-child in the temple. Luke 2: 21-40

After the visit of the Magi to an unspecified house where they were living they fled to Egypt only returning to Nazareth after Herod the Great had died. The holy family (as Jesus and his parents are sometimes called) travelled a long way. Perhaps they had to use the gold that the Magi had given to Jesus.

A Christmas carol with a travelling theme is The Shepherd’s Pipe Carol.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4