Following is a Front Page Editorial in Le Figaro, Christmas Eve issue (24 December 2013), by Etienne de Montety (firstname.lastname@example.org) and translated by Your Editor—John Warwick Montgomery:
Here’s the survey of the moment: even before the twelve strokes of midnight have died away, six out of ten French are ready to resell their Christmas presents on the internet. It’s true: those very gifts that one broke one’s back to find and to buy with passion, in the hope of making someone happy.
This preposterous fact is valuable in that it underscores the relative and even derisory nature of what can accompany the rite of “Christmas presents”—if, that is, one limits the idea just to consumerism on the occasion of end-of-year whooping.
In his celebrated “Bloc-notes,” Mauriac asked himself one day, “In honour of whom and of what are these champagne corks popping?” The question remains for us to answer.
Why, during the days surrounding Christmas, does time seem mysteriously suspended, as if frozen? Why during these holiday hours, when the bad news of world events continues to be dragged before us, those miseries do not succeed in penetrating the warm, garlanded interior of our existence?
To whom and to what do we owe this truce so welcome in a time of frost and interminable night? Why at that time do families and friends gather together to celebrate?
They do so to honour the Newborn in a stable in Judea—one whom the Christians of the entire world recognize and adore as God become man.
It is the advent of the Child Jesus that makes Christmas a celebration of infancy; and it is his father and his mother, bent over him, that makes it a celebration of the family.
And it was the coming of the Magi from the East, burdened with presents, that established the tradition of gift giving.
The objection will be raised that this Good News is not shared by everyone. But the truth is that this News is Good on two counts.
It’s Good News, surely, because of the Infant’s birth—but also because He came for every person, making Christmas an occasion of universal joy.
1 The French title is “Noël pour tous”—an obvious strike at the successful Socialist campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in France: “Mariage pour tous.”
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This issue (Vol. 12, No. 3) features a major defense of the Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy—a New Testament book dismissed as post-apostolic by mainline liberal biblical scholarship and (even more sadly) by not a few evangelical exegetes. That study—“Coherence and Authorship in 1 Timothy”—is the work of Dr. Ray Van Neste, Professor of Biblical Studies at Union University. Also in the present issue is an article-length evaluation and critique of Myron Penner’s The End of Apologetics. Dr. John J. Johnson of Virginia Union University shows the fallacies in Penner’s dismissal of “rationalistic evidence” in the apologetic task and argues that Penner’s approach nonetheless has something useful to offer in making the case for Christianity.
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Stop the Press!
An additional article appears in the present issue. The author: Your Editor. Why the need for immediate publication? The views critiqued therein have serious implications for the theological position of one of the world’s most influential conservative Christian churches, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Readers will inevitably ask themselves: Is this (or will this be) a problem in our denomination as well?