The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Advent or Christmas?

Our pastor says no Christmas hymns until Christmas

What is the Lutheran belief on celebrating Christmas in church? In my childhood we put the Christmas tree up and started singing carols on the first Sunday in December. Now our pastor does not want to sing Christmas hymns until Christmas. We're confused.

You may also hear people at the mall say, "We used to see Christmas decorations the first of December; now they start before Halloween. Christmas isn't what it used to be."

In recent years, Lutherans increasingly have reclaimed Advent, which historically is a season of preparation (see page 14). By carefully observing Advent they point to that which the busy world does not see. Busy Bethlehem, after all, didn't make room for God's loving entrance into its daily life. It was unprepared and couldn't see him.

(Also: Norma and Burton Everist answer: "I read an article suggeting God is an idea invented by man to try to find value and meaning in this earthly life. Isn't it the other way around? Didn't God create us in his own image?")

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February issue


Embracing diversity