Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas vs. Christmas

A very good reminder from Mark Taylor at The Center for Youth Ministry Training

A re-post, The original article can be found here: Christmas vs. Christmas 

After watching a myriad of Christmas movies around this time of year, an overwhelming sense of frustration and, ultimately, disappointment begins to take over. We come to the climax of the typical Christmas movie. Things aren't going quite as planned. Nobody has any Christmas spirit. People bicker. No one believes in Santa anymore. Then someone begins to stoke the fire of the Christmas spirit within the characters. Maybe they even see Santa. The spirit of Christmas is restored. All is good and well in the world...for one day. Maybe only that night. 

We grow up with movies about Santa and Christmas. Santa shows up on the eve of December 24th. Then he seems to be absent for the other 364 days of the year. What is he doing? Making the toys for the boys and girls of the world? No. I think the elves do that. Getting fat? Some role model. We grow up with commercials and commercialism. We buy presents. We give presents. We receive presents. This cycle represents the joy of the season. 

And I sit here thinking how can Christmas, as it is presented, do anything but disappoint and let us all down? An obese man dressed in scarlet who pops up once a year? Billions in merchandise? Serving in a soup kitchen on Christmas day? Perhaps broken families? 

As Ecclesiastes so aptly puts it, anything without Christ and God is meaningless. A season of good feelings, artificially generated (boostered by mass marketing) can only miserably, and utterly, fail. Human endeavors to produce good will toward men can only produce a shadow of that which is instilled in us by our Creator. The idea of taking Christ out of the Christmas season makes about as much sense celebrating someone's birthday by not inviting them to their own party. 

So it only makes sense that the brokenness begins to overwhelm, suicides are more prevalent, and emptiness forms in our lives. Without Christ, all of our hopes and good intentions lie, teetering, on the edge of fantasy and futility. They will be dashed to pieces. They will never amount to anything. 

Instead we turn to the answer—the meaning and hope in it all. And Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, came, and was born of the virgin, Mary, to save all people from their sins. And this doesn't lose its meaning or power when the clock strikes midnight on December 26th. God sending his son, Christ coming to live with his creation, the shedding of blood to save us all: these acts provide us with the means to love our neighbor. These acts provide us with the hope of restoration and healing in our lives. These acts cause the flashy lights, the cinematic drivel, the hypersaturated climaxes to fade away into the background where they deserve to be. 

We celebrate a God, in ultimate power, taking the position of ultimate humility, to walk with his children. And that, Charlie Brown, is why we celebrate Christmas. That is why this counterfeit of a holiday that brings out the worst in people and disappoints to no end, amounts to nothing when compared to the incredibly true and powerful story of a baby that brought hope to the world.

1 comment:

rock japah said...

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