Monday, 16 December 2013

Don't throw out the baby!

Man I do love Christmas!
If you'd read my last post or two, you may have been starting to wonder...


The miracle of a Saviour being born into our world is not something to ever grow tired of hearing about or celebrating. 




Yes it's a manic time of year and I've done my fair share of moaning about the stresses and strains that can seem all-consuming. But I fear I've let that obscure the chance to truly revel in all that this time of the year holds - particularly for Christians. 

The virgin Mary had a baby boy.
Can we stop apologising for that?
Same with the stable and the animals and the wise men and shepherds. It's all written down in the Bible as the beginning of the most amazing story ever told. 

It doesn't come with a disclaimer, saying:

Yeah at some stage you're all going to get sick of this cute little tale. You'll realise that the December date is a fake, that it's more to do with winter solstice and that Christmas is really a pagan festival we've mistakenly made our own. 
You'll explain that the wise men arrived when Jesus was way out of nappies; The inn wasn't really an inn and the stable wasn't really a stable; Mary was actually much older with several other children and the star was just the northern lights playing havoc in the sky. And what would some dumb shepherds in a field somewhere know anyhow? 

You'll be so "over" the carol singing - played more in shopping centres than churches these days - and complain about the crassness of rampant commercialism (I mean the junk mail is endless!). You'll deride the greed and wastefulness of giving gifts, carefully dressing up your alternative as a self-righteous charitable act that hopefully lets you off the hook for the rest of the year.

You'll tell everyone that Santa is evil and Bing Crosby sucks and that Jesus died and that that is ALL that matters...

Except that that's not what the Bible says. 

It details the miracle of Christmas. Yes, a miracle took place in a story the Bible foretold: complete with the shepherds and no room in the inn. It gave us Mary's song and the words to Handel's Messiah and Joy to the World and Silent Night... 

So why do we treat the whole thing as being a bit naff or passé?

It's a nonsense to try to separate Jesus' birth and life from his death and resurrection. You can't have one with out the other. Glossing over the birth details as if they were a Hallmark plot instead of Biblical truth is not an option. Nor does the Bible require us to ignore one event at the expense of the other.

Where's our sense of wonder and awe? Our gratitude for what God has done?

The Christmas story is a vital part of the great narrative of Jesus the King and Saviour of the world. We can't convey the significance of his death while ignoring the facts of a human/godly birth and a holy life. 

Anyone who has struggled with convincing a non-believer that Jesus died for them, should know that treating his birth and life story as a fuzzy optional extra just makes Christians look silly and confused.

Just saying..


So on Saturday, as I sipped my delicious gingerbread latte from Starbucks (why can't they make them all year round? Why? Why?) and watched the hordes of sometimes happy but mostly harried people rush past, I really wished that Christians would stop criticising Christmas. 
I decided I would.

Two years ago we held a nativity play in our backyard to celebrate Arch's first birthday. It seemed fitting, having had a baby so close to Christmas Day. Two years on I feel I've lost something... I think I may have given my kids the message that this time of year is more a shopping/cooking/socialising frenzy where Mum is cranky and they're mostly being a pain. I've let the busyness and trivia obscure the wonder. I've let the joy be sucked out of one of the highlights of the Christian calendar. 

OUCH!

So I'm urging you because mainly I'm urging myself, to resist the urge to throw the baby out with the cinnamon-infused bath water. Let's turn the mixed messages of Christmas into one big fat joyful message of Christ, the King of Christmas*. God gave us the Christmas story for a reason - so let's celebrate it!

* Christ the King of Christmas by Colin Buchanan - a fantastic song illustrating how we can use Christmas symbols positively to share the gospel. 

3 comments:

  1. Brilliantly said Sarah! Toby Mac told me that Mary was 13 - I believed him! xx

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    1. Thank you! Who would have thought Toby Mac might be wrong?! Not me! LOL :-)

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