oo often this time of year we get into the mindset that we need to put Christ back in Christmas, or that we must remember the reason for the season. While this statement is true, so far as we must remember and think intently on what Christ has done for us, should this not be the case every season? Or to put Christ in Christmas, should he not be in our everyday lives. We can make a really good case that the 'holy day' Christmas in itself is not Christian. For instance the time of year is wrong, the early Christians didn't celebrate it, the puritians didn't celebrate it, birthdays are only mentioned twice in the bible and they both ended with murder (pharoh's baker, and John the Baptist), it was a MASS adopted by the Catholic Church which convieniently coincided with the pagan holidays of the surrounding culture, this list goes on and on with reasons we could believe Christmas is not Christian. With that said I will say this, I too celebrate Christmas with my wife and our families, we have an "idol-i-tree", (oops I mean Christmas tree), stockings, the whole works. So I recognize hypocrisy on my part, and that is why I will not tell anyone not to celebrate Christmas.
Here is my real beef with Christmas. It is the fictionization of Christ's coming to this earth. Think about it, we sing these sweet songs: "Away in a manger no crib for a bed the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head" or "Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright" yet something seems amiss. We view beautiful manger scences with a perfect looking baby so sweetly gazing into Mary's eyes. We see paintings with a holy glow around Mary and Jesus. My question is, does any of this line up with the real experience of child birth? No. There is pain in delivering a baby, and then it is bloody, and it cries. Usually the head is shaped like a cone. Real child birth certainly is a holy experience I have no doubt, but what we portray as the manger scene is simply fairy tale. It was dirty, labor was hard as it always is, Jesus came into the world as a human, fully human, fully God. He did not come in as an angelic abnormal child like all of our traditions portray him, he came into this world like you and I. This picture that we have painted certainly is not the picture the bible paints, and we wonder why the world continually rejects true Christianity. The "Christmas Christianty" which we too often present is easy to accept because it isn't real, and it is just something fun to believe in, or to pretend to believe in. Yet the real Christianity which is laced with toil, self denial, and the struggle of mastery over the flesh, the faith where we confess we would be nothing but fodder for the pit of hell if it were not by the grace of God, that Christianity is lost in our retelling of the Christmas story. Ah, in the real Christmas story we see that underlying joy amidst the struggle of life, we see the beauty of grace and the humility of Christ. I guess that is what frustrates me the most, it is important to understand that Christ came into a dump for us, that he gave up all he could have. The real Christmas story is such a powerful image of Christ's gospel, yet our tradition makes it into a fantasy with no power at all.
That is all I have for now.
Have a happy December 25, and remember that Christ came into filth, and was born just as any other man or woman is born, and because he came in the flesh, as a human, we can trust in his sacrifice and ressurection.