The Manly Side of Christmas and Some Stories to Watch in the Next Few Days

December 24th, 2008 Post by

Manly Christmas

Christmas has turned into a holiday for kids and women. The kids have their toys while Hallmark and HGTV have seen to it that the holiday has been appropriately  feminized to keep pace with the rest of our  whimpy culture. But in the Scriptures  all sorts of  masculine stuff is going on at the birth of Christ. There is Joseph who is a real man and takes the pregnant Mary under his wings at the angel’s command. Then there is the rustic side of Christmas: a stable, a feed trough, smelly shepherds in the fields and the bloody gore of the slaughter of the innocents. To cap it all off you have the angels singing the “Gloria” which has always been given the most masculine musical weight in our liturgies through the ages.


Speaking of the slaughter of the innocents, we are reminded that the Christmas story has plenty of  manly shortcomings as well. Joseph’s original idea was to put Mary away quietly.  Then there was the poor planning for the family which landed them in the stable. (I remember when Phyllis and I first started out. It took a few years of hard luck on the road before I learned how to properly care for the family by planning ahead and making reservations.) Then there is the cowardly slaughter of innocents – man using his God-given leadership in hasty violence to serve the self.


Thank God there was a Christmas, and a Good Friday and an Easter. These sins are all paid for. Blessed Christmas to each of you Brothers of John the Steadfast and to all our readers. May God’s manly word of Christmas build you up as a better leader in the church and at home.


Some Belated Journalistic Gifts

In the next few days we have some great stories and gifts for you. By way of gifts, we are nearly ready to roll out our “Lutheranwikipedia.” It will be a community developed dictionary of terms Lutherans need to know and that are used frequently on this website. We will be looking to each of you to help us complete it over the years. Also look for a series of articles on an LCMS congregation that cannot get district funding due to confessional policies and yet gets Ablaze funds none the less. We also have discovered a journal article written by an Ablaze insider who says the program is failing. You won’t believe what his solution is. We also are working on an article based on a district staffer who has had the great discovery that small groups are for the family and get this – is hoping the church can create resources for such a small group. (I think there are already are some.) Finally, our regular columnists are constantly on the look-out for timely articles to build up the Brothers and there will certainly be more of those coming during the Christmas tide.


Have a blessed Christ-mass and we will be talking again with you soon.


Pastor Rossow

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  1. Rev. Allen Strawn
    December 24th, 2008 at 18:01 | #1

    Pastor Rossow,
    I encourage you to read the excerpt from this marvelous book, “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes” by Kenneth Bailey to see that there was no poor planning on the part of Joseph. (Not to mention no stable and no inn.) It is a must read to shatter the “nostalgic” idea of the events of Christmas.

  2. SteadfastLutherans
    December 24th, 2008 at 19:14 | #2

    Rec. Strawn,

    Thanks for the heads up. I am all for shattering the nostalgic idea of the events of Christmas.

    Pastor Rossow

  3. Susan R
    December 25th, 2008 at 02:16 | #3

    I heard Dr. Bailey on Issues, Etc., and his summation of the nativity within Jewish culture is eye-opening. It takes absolutely nothing from the story; indeed, much of what we have accepted as basic elements of the nativity are exposed as somewhat pietistic, irrelevant, and somewhat useless. I look forward to reading his book.
    I was astounded at what I heard, and at how it all fit. It can be heard here:
    Merry Christmas to all.

  4. JamesBob
    December 25th, 2008 at 13:56 | #4

    What is the background on Kenneth Bailey? I see that he is cited as a Presbyterian minister, but he wrote “Poet and Peasant” under the direction od Dr, Martin Scharlemann at Concordia Seniary. Was he ever Lutheran?

  5. December 26th, 2008 at 10:15 | #5

    A PDF sample of the book is on IVP’s web site, and it happens to address Luke Chapter 2:

    Blessed Christmas!

  6. David Rosenkoetter
    December 28th, 2008 at 14:08 | #6

    Pr. Rossow and all,
    I was also educated and corrected by Dr. Bailey’s comments on Issues. His description of the kataluma cleared up several questions I had had about why sheep, donkeys, a manger, and people would be occupying the same space.

    As far as manly elements of the Christmas narrative go, we can’t forget the terms with which Luke describes the angels who preached to the shepherds. They are “hosts” or “soldiers”. Far from being ethereal, feminized whisps, they were–I’m sure–quite intimidating to behold. No wonder, the shepherds needed to be told to stop being afraid. The angels spoke the strong, sturdy Word of God that directed the shepherds to see salvation history first hand.

    Thanks be to so many of you, pastors, for continuing that same, faithful preaching that still grounds our faith firmly in the finished work of our one and only Savior from sin, Jesus Christ.

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