In case you haven’t noticed, Christmas has undergone quite a transformation. A radio station in the Madison area boasted that it would play no Christmas music at all and offered prizes to those who could prove otherwise (don’t be overly surprised, it’s Madison after all). A public school bans Santa, carols are done away with, nativity scenes removed, etc. Some say there’s a “war on Christmas.” As if that is really the issue, once we understand.
All of this, of course, is more evidence of the thoroughgoing shift away from a Judeo-Christian world and life view. Despite all the claims of tolerance, the secularist worldview is intolerant of all rivals (as every worldview inherently is) and especially the Christian one.
I was channel surfing to see what movies were being shown around this Christmas season. Of course there was the typical: “Elf,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas,” etc. More surprising was the several horror films paraded out along with all the rest. Ironically, they may actually be closer to the reason for the season than watching another Tim Allen movie.
Perhaps our great concern should not be with the season’s commercialization or even with the intentioned neglect of Jesus in an increasingly secular society. Maybe of greater concern should be the trivialization of Christmas by God’s people. Sappy stories and overdone/redone Christmas music hardly do it justice. The horror flicks have it right – Christmas is actually a raw, staggering shocker.
If we pass by the filthy stable and see the poor, shamed couple struggling to make sense of what they are in the middle of we begin to get closer to the truth of things. If we see the brutal oppression of the Roman world, the poverty, the uncertainty of life, the meaninglessness of things, we begin to be touched by the world into which He came.
You see, this first Christmas thing was not glittering lights and happy jingling bells. It was the moment when heaven broke into our world with a vengeance – it was an invasion. It was God’s declaration of war upon the brokenness, the pain, the nihilism of a sin-saturated and devastated humanity.
With His birth the incarnated God “crossed the Rubicon” and there was no turning back – He was all in (though He always had been). The passionate OT God set aside all the metaphors through which He had sought to woo, cajole and challenge our selfish stupidity and came into our world as one of us. The days of the prophets and messengers carrying His word to His hardened people was over – He came Himself. He came with no illusions that we would understand or care or even that we would repent and return. He came because He must, because of Who He is – the great lover of us Who would not be denied, “NOW will you love Me?!”
We are at war alright – but not over the cultural trappings of Christmas past that we wish were still present. Lest we trivialize Christmas, our struggle is greater than all that. Our war is that of Jesus our King Who now enthroned seeks to bring His loving, healing rule to the whole of life – this is why He came and this is our summons, our call.
So, it’s not time to try to recapture Christmas, but to be captured by it; to become so enthralled with the God who would come to us that we are is swept up into His kingdom purpose for our life and world.
Have a wonderful and thoughtful Christmas!
Copyright by Mike Huckins December 2015