Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Well, I had some money to spend on myself (from my mom) and so I went to this little Christian bookstore this morning. I understand it is Christmas Eve, so I should have anticipated some chaos. However, I walked out of the store after purchasing a couple books and was crossing the street, when out of nowhere, from a nearby stop sign, I hear a revving engine and this lady is coming full speed ahead at me. I narrowly escaped back to the sidewalk and my thoughtlife was exceedingly sinful at that moment. First, I thought about this "idiot lady" who nearly took me out...Then, I began thinking about what people really think the Holiday Season is about.

Clearly this evil lady had missed the boat and I was much more attuned to the birth of Jesus. Afterall, if she was thinking about Jesus, would she have taken a shot at making me a permanent road fixture? I think not. (I'm laying on the sarcastic self-righteousness heavily here).

Here's the issue. Sometimes well meaning Jesus followers try to 'take back Christmas' by talking down commercialism, consumerism, and the many other 'ism's' of the season. In a sense, we try to go into the local WalMart and flip over the cash registers in righteous indignation. Is this the best way to convey to a lost and searching people that Jesus was born into this world as the revolutionary God-Man that was bringing in this Upside Down Mustard Bush Kingdom? By condemning people and suggesting (either through action/word/or perspective of self) that we get it and they don't?

Perhaps our focus is distorted as the church. We are so concerned with right behavior and forcing the world to 'respect' Jesus, that we forget that love is the center of everything about Jesus. I recently heard about a speaker getting up to speak before a large group and tripping on his way to the platform. He uttered a couple words that probably shouldn't be said by a church leader...his microphone happened to be on. The speaker arrived at the platform and said, "Why is it that most of us in this room are more concerned with what I just said, than the fact that many of our neighbors and loved ones are dying without Jesus?"

May we be less focused about modifying the world's behaviors and instead pray more about God's kingdom being transformed in each and every heart that he has created. May God be born anew in our hearts this Christmas.

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