At the writing of this blog, it's 3 days til Christmas. The seemingly endless list of things I wish would be done by Christmas is growing instead of shrinking despite the fact that my feet hurt, my back aches and I am hitting the floor running at 6am every morning. I hate the pressure of Christmas!
Instead, I would prefer to spend time with family and friends even if there aren't any cookies to eat while we visit. I would prefer to sit and discuss and injest the absolute miracle of the incarnation-God come to earth in human flesh. A second Adam, a creation of God, untouched by the sinful DNA of Joseph and Mary, placed in the womb of a virgin to be born and walk this earth living a different kind of life than has been the experience of every other human being that ever lived or walked this earth. Untouched by a sinful nature, but living in a sinful world, tempted by worldly vices but never falling into the temptation, unable to be deceived as Adam and Eve were because not only does he know the Word of God, he IS the Word of God! Giving us a clear picture of the original intent of God and the life that Adam lived until he fell. Telling us "This is what is possible again to mankind!" He is a God of second chances. He is a God of better chances. Now he is not only Emmanuel, God with us, He is God IN us, living in us. Strengthening us to walk and live "just as He walked" on the earth.
I would love to sit and examine the life and character of Joseph and Mary, the two people chosen by God, out of all the human beings through all time that God could have chosen to raise the Messiah. We get glimpses of their lives in scripture, but those few quick glances speak volumes to us if we would just sit down and think about it.
I would love to sit and ponder the incredible love and forgiveness that caused a holy God to sacrifice His only son and the Son who willingly laid down all that was normal to him to fulfill a mission that would satisfy the heart of the Father that He loves so very much, even though the sacrifice for both of them was more than one would think could be made.
I should be disturbed to realize that it took an abdication, an incarnation, a crucifixion and a resurrection to save this sorry piece of flesh that I call "self". And to realize that even if I had been the only human being on earth ever created, it would have been done for me just as it was for the whole world. What love!
I should be consecrating myself to pursue this love, to receive All that was accomplished for me through Christ, and to submit myself to it's plans, purposes, and practical expressions while here on this earth.
To me, that is what Christmas is all about.
But instead, I am running around with a list of gifts to buy (granted, if I had started awhile ago instead of waiting to 4 days before, it would have been easier, but I hate to shop, I hate the worldly longings spending so much time in the mall tries to awaken in me, I hate that people are more concerned about getting a good parking spot than the lives of people who are frantically trying to get from the parking lot to the mall entrance, and that most people I see are under the same pressure I'm trying to escape.) Are they missing the true meaning of Christmas too?
I hate that Christmas has come under attack. That it's been relegated into the classification of "just another holiday", as if it is no different than Memorial Day, Labor Day or Valentines Day. It's almost become a dirty Word due to the fact that "the Christian God" is found in it's name. Certainly we don't want to offend any of the millions of people that the Christ of Christmas gave his own life's blood to save and to provide an eternal life that would far exceed any life the goods and services of this world, even in abundance, could ever provide. Even our government officials apologize for accidentally saying the word "Christmas" in press conferences, store clerks can be fired for wishing people "Merry Christmas", teachers and bus drivers cannot say the word either.
Christmas needs an overhaul. Cut the gifts, cut the baking, cut the shopping, the pressure, the hype. Stop cutting Christ out of Christmas and then using His holy birth as an excuse to pressure people into buying and spending in order to fill the merchant's coffers! Jesus fashioned a whip and cleansed the temple for this very thing.
And yet, the true meaning of Christmas, the reality of the miracle birth, the sinless life, the shameful death and the glorious resurrection still lives on in the hearts of those who have experienced it's great power.
So to the holiday of Christmas, I say Fooey! But to the Christ of Christmas I say thank you, thank you, thank you, a billion times thank you. Thank you for love, for mercy, for compassion, for forgiveness, for understanding, for humility, for sacrifice, for power, for healing, for restoration, for new life, for victory, for glory, and for a future that is as bright as the noon day sun.
I remember the babe, born in a manger the King of Heaven and Earth. I remember the way that He walked on the earth, the love that He brought, the life that He gave, the promise that will come to pass because He is completely faithful!
And I worship.
"O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord."