It’s the lovely time of year where people of all faiths, denominations and economic status levels do their absolute best to reduce the Yuletide season down to the most innocuous, commercially viable standard of celebration. These actions are, in turn, responded to by loud proclamations over the destruction of the “real meaning of Christmas,” mailing list protests, and why your VISA should be put to use in a way that will glorify Jesus better.
No, I promise I’m not going to trot out that tired “paint by numbers” critique on commercialism and Christmas kitsch.
The New Yorker offers a slightly humorous take on how Christians can be a bit more sensitive this holiday season, although apparently a “Happy Interfaith Holiday Season” means only trying to pander to your Menorah-lighting friends
The video starts off with a few chuckles before the jokes start feeling tired, but muting the point about Christ and his role as a Savior made me think again about how many implicit parts of the Christmas story are so divisive and confrontational if people, and Christians, would think about what was actually being said.
Oh, and for the record, the cover is a delightful bit of non-partisan humor
My church held its Christmas service last night, and the devotional was centered around how the idea and understanding of sin is so foundational to the entire story of that little baby meek and mild. The idea of our collective failure and complete inability to save ourselves doesn’t really fly too well on a Hallmark card. The idea of a tiny Savior often gets confused in our society, it’s seen as a point of comfort and assurance, to the point of being sickeningly profane (“Dear Lord baby Jesus, lyin’ there in your ghost manger” ), when in reality that the point of that sweet little baby should be absolutely terrifying.
That baby screams of the depths of our depravity, that nothing else could rectify the glaring impact of our separation from a righteous and holy God. Underneath the steeples, there is a tragic forgetfulness that allows the man from the pulpit to speak in terms of salvation and of ransoming the people from their sins, all while forgetting how shocking and far-reaching that ransom truly was. We speak of treating the purchased grace as “cheap,” but it is far too easy to overlook the true cost of that grace. It is the necessity and scandal of Justification and cannot be passed over lightly.
When you see the baby, immediately flip over in your mind to the horrors of Golgotha and try to hold those two images next to each other. Place the manger by the nails, the crown of thorns by the shepherds, and the flowing blood by the milk of His mother.
Then think about if you really have the stomach to be a “Sensitive Christian” this Christmas.