Skip to content

The Politics of Advent by Prof. Jonathan Burnside

Printer-friendly version

Sometimes our faith in Jesus and our political life can seem disconnected, especially at Christmas. 

That's why Christian Concern is thrilled to bring you a new resource from Wilberforce Academy fellow Prof. Jonathan Burnside

In four short podcasts, Prof. Burnside gives insights from the Bible and from ancient history to show how the nativity story is relevant to politics.

He tells us: "Advent is all about preparing our hearts to receive Jesus Christ as King... and kingship is political."

Jesus overthrew the political powers of his day, but he did it in a way no-one was expecting. And his story will change the way we engage in political life. 

Why not listen with friends or family as you get ready for Christmas? 

The accompanying questions will help you apply the themes in your discussions. 

Jesus' birth challenged the four political power bases of the day: 

1. Government, in the form of Caesar Augustus
  • In what ways do we see human government making divine claims today?
  • What would it look like to "give our primary allegiance to heaven, not to Rome?"


2. Monarchy, in the form of Herod the Great

  • How is Jesus' kingship different from Herod's? How does this challenge political leadership today?
  • "The path to greatness is the path to self-denial, servanthood and humility." How can we be more like Jesus in our leadership in public life?


3. Culture, in the form of the Magi
  • Who are the 'cultural kings' in Britain today? Where do they have influence?
  • What would it look like for the cultural kings in our society to bow before King Jesus?


4. Religion, in the form of the Priests
  • The angels appeared to shepherds. This turned all expectations upside down. How does this change how we think about the gospel story?
  • In what ways can we be 'light in the darkness' in 2017?
  • God promised that the government would be on Jesus' shoulders. How does this promise empower us in our political life?




  • Should children learn about gender identity? Carys Moseley looks at 3 recent attempts to normalise transgender iden… 9 hours 34 min ago
  • This past Monday, the Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska presented a paper at the Human Rights, Law & Religion: F… 1 day 9 hours ago
  • Did you read it? This week, with support from CLC and after much deliberation, Joshua Sutcliffe announced in a lett… 1 day 19 hours ago
  • House of Lords Debates Tenets of Islam: Lord Pearson initiated a debate in the House of Lords last week asking the… 2 days 22 hours ago
  • Watch Dr Joe Boot introduce his new book Gospel Witness in a short interview: 4 days 2 hours ago

Subscribe to our emails