Why Is Christmas Important? Reflecting on the Incarnation of Our Lord through Poetry
What is so important about Christmas? Family, presents, festive decorations, and food are all wonderful things, but we could enjoy those any time of the year. What matters about Christmas is that it is the celebration of the Incarnation: of God becoming flesh, to live and die as one of us.
In this podcast, I use poetry to reflect on the significance of the Incarnation. First, I talk about W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming” to unsettle us – to help us realize the brokenness and disorder of our world, a brokenness that we cannot fix by ourselves. We need a Savior.
Next, I look at John Donne’s poem “Nativity” to explore the idea of Christ’s First Advent in great humility. The Lord of lords and King of kings… a helpless infant. It’s not what we would expect, and yet it’s what God Himself chose.
Lastly, I look at John Betjeman’s poem “Christmas” to make a connection between the celebration of the Incarnation at Christmas and the celebration of the Eucharist. (I hope that my Evangelical listeners will gain a little bit of an understanding of why the Eucharist is such an important part of worship and sanctification in the Catholic tradition, and I hope that Catholic listeners will be shaken up a bit and not take the Eucharist for granted.)
Why do we celebrate Christmas? Because the First Advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ was a real event in history, and his Second Advent in power and great glory will likewise be a real event in history.
Click here for a handout with the text of the three poems discussed in this lecture.