Monday, December 21, 2015
If you’ve read some of my previous Christmas season posts, you know that I’m not really into Christmas. At least not what Christmas has become in 21st Century America. As a Christian, I’ve tried to hang on to the religious significance of Christmas. This even though I know that Christ wasn’t born on December 25 and the Wise Men did not visit the Baby Jesus in that manger in Bethlehem, but quite some time later. And we’re not sure where or even how many of them showed up. Questionable traditions notwithstanding, I remain persuaded that Jesus is who He says He is and the message of the Gospels is true.
So I am a believer. But this Christmas there does not seem to be much “Joy To The World”. It’s not just the recent events in Paris and San Bernardino. They are part of it, but enough has been said about all of that. Such events are representative of the fallen, broken world in which we live. A world that leaves us with hard questions and numerous doubts. For those of us living in a place and time that provides the highest standard of living in the history of the world, we look for answers that do not rock the status quo boat. Most of us are more interested in our bank account, our time off or our waistline than we are in life’s big questions. We turn Christmas into a Holiday Season for family, fun and gift-giving. And that’s ok, up to a point. It doesn’t get any better than watching the little ones on Christmas morning as they discover what Santa Claus left under the tree. But grown-ups will spend far more time discussing which team will “win it all” than they will discussing what does “it all” mean.
We are told that the most important thing is to be happy, to feel good about ourselves and the world around us. And the “Holiday Season” does its best to make us feel that way. But, if you read the rest of the gospel story you know that Jesus did not define joy and happiness on the world’s terms. In fact, He turned the world upside down. Which is why most of what we do during the “Holiday Season” doesn’t have much to do with why He really came or what He really did.
"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." Luke 12:51