The Real Christmas
I recently read a blog by Pastor Bob Kauflin, I'd like to share some of his thoughts and mine interspersed about the Real Christmas. It is a great challenge for the mind of man to grasp the "Incarnation". God becoming man to redeem man. How can any mortal mind grasp such a thing? It should bring us to a place of amazement and awe but it seems that we step back from that and as we often do, reframe Christmas in more earthly terms. So what is the real Christmas?
We tend to sentimentalize Christmas, decorations, flowers, gifts, lights,cards; an endless stream of ways that we have constructed. All good and pleasing and and enjoyable. We all look forward to them but they aren't the main story of Christmas and they touch us in many ways, but often don't solve our deepest problems and needs. When the tree comes down, often so do we.
We often sanitize Christmas,, a picture perfect, Hallmark worthy rendition. Fresh straw in the manger, no umbilical cord and blood visible. No noise of restless animals on this "Silent Night". No aroma of manure. Joseph and Mary have got it together, not harried from the arduous journey and the last minute frantic look for a place to deliver. No tongues wagging about this "virgin birth" before marriage. We forget that Christ came into a dirty, drafty, uncertain world filled with sin and that His purpose was to relate with the rejected, slandered, helpless and hopeless.
We also tend to speak in wonderful spiritual terms of love, peace, joy, harmony. We set aside this time of year to reflect on these virtues. But apart from the One who brought these things they are only lofty ideas. Christ translated these things into action for us to replicate, not just recite.
"The Fruit of Christmas is impossible to achieve or sustain apart from the root". We know what real love is by looking to the Lord who first loved us, enough to sacrifice himself for us. Preaching about peace is hollow without the Prince of Peace who restored our relationship to the Father, giving us the Peace of knowing His love and forgiveness.
The Incarnation was earth and sin shattering. It was cataclysmic and cannot be confined to four short weeks in December. The Deity gasping for first breath, who spoke the universe into existence but lay silently without words. The real Christmas is this; "God from God,Light from Light,true God from true God. Begotten ,not made, of one Being with the Father" (Nicene Creed)
Charles Wesley wrote" Mild He lays his glory by, born that man no more may die; Born to raise the sons of Earth, born to give them second birth" . During this season as we pleasure in the ways man celebrates let us not forget the celebrations of the Angels that night. What were they celebrating? Grace. And we must remember and celebrate that as well.