I Need the Old Testament for Christmas in 2020


Now more than ever before, we should look to the Old Testament to enrich this holiday season.

The only constant in 2020 has been disruption. Unless you are an essential worker, most of us now work from home, wear masks, order groceries online, and attend church on our couches. Tensions are high. Fissures between minorities and those in power are expanding. Political parties have created barricades between family, friends, and neighbors. What does this mean for Advent and Christmas? All of this turmoil could just add to an already stressful holiday season and push us to the brink. There is another possibility too. What if God wants to enrich his Church during Advent and beyond as never before? What if he wants to nourish our faith in a way that can only happen amidst turmoil? I suspect this may come through the Church’s habit of breaking open the Old Testament during Advent Season and propelling us to enrich our faith in 2021.

An Uneasy Relationship with the Old Testament

I know what you’re thinking: “You’re an Old Testament professor. Of course you think the Old Testament is key to revitalizing the church.” True. I take your point, but I’m not naïve. At the start of every semester, my college students voice their impressions about the Old Testament: “It’s hard to understand.” “The violence is disturbing.” “The Old Testament God seems like a God of wrath.” “Women are treated like property.” And so forth and so on. I also know that if you have just a few moments for spiritual nourishment you’ll turn to Luke or Ephesians and not Leviticus or Ezekiel. So, is the solution to continue our path of disconnecting from the Old Testament? Or, might it be time to lean into what God has for us in the first three-quarters of the …

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