Christmas is a big deal, the most important event of the year, of any year, even election years and war years, and wedding years, even though it happens every year.
Christmastime is super-busy. We schedule decorating, gift buying, wrapping and giving, shows, tree decorating, public tree lightings, cooking and baking, Christmas carols and classic movies, family gatherings, office parties, church, and visits; all the energy that we put into the birthday of Jesus shows that Christmastime is a big deal.
If you think it’s too much, then let’s stop for a moment to consider whether all this hoopla is really too little.
Everyone knows the story. In Year 1, a Jewish girl named Mary was chosen by God to become His mother so He, God, could have a body. Jesus was born to be a perfect human to emulate, even His healing power, even how he reacted to those who hated Him, even the other miracles which demonstrated His dominion over nature. He showed people and told them how to be like God, so they could ultimately live forever in new bodies on a new earth with God and each other. But first, there was the grand finale; He had to be killed so He could go to Hades and release the souls of the dead. He came to reverse the curse of death put on Adam and Eve and through them on humanity. Then, to prove that He was successful, He miraculously came back to earth for 40 days before going to be one with God again. Since then, God as the Holy Spirit, resides within baptized believers to prepare them for eternal life, free from sickness, sorrow, and sighing...and our arch enemy, the devil.
Doesn’t that sound like science fiction written by an over-active imagination?
Is Christmastime the season to celebrate an absurd story? Like the story of the king who paraded through town naked on his horse because he thought he was wearing special clothes. To pacify him, the townspeople also pretended that the naked king was clothed. Is Christmastime the season when around the world throughout history people pretend that there is a God who was born in a manger in Bethlehem? Some people pretend to believe better than others, but surely it couldn’t be true, because the story is absurd.
Look around at nature. See how fanciful and creative the world is with its millions of living breathing funny-looking beings and botanical wonders. That this complex creation has no creator is probably more absurd than that there truly is a super intelligent source. The Author of life can also author His own incarnation which is as true as the sunrise, and as mysterious as the petrified forest.
No one has to pretend to play along with the tale of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God incarnate.
God doesn’t want pretenders. Most, if not every true believer has personal experiences that continuously validate their belief.
It’s silly to celebrate an absurd story. But is this story absurd?
On Christmas Eve, walk into your neighborhood church service. Close your eyes and ask Jesus to be born in the manger of your heart.
Pay attention. See what happens.
Next year, let me know if you agree that all that we do to celebrate Christmas is probably too little.
PS ALIVE will return in January. Merry Christmas!!!