Christmas reflections :: it's about hope right?

Well Advent and Christmas has come and gone, well technically / liturgically we are still in the Christmas season but for all intensive purposes it has come and gone. So we now reflect.

Reflecting on a good old American Christmas you might think it was about gifts, or a certain feeling, maybe about gathering or torture (depending out how your family time was - a notoriously hard time for many - it happened to be really good for me this year!). Maybe upon reflection Christmas was about a baby other that Jesus (things seemed to really revolve around my 1yr old Jack this year) or maybe it was just about trying not to go broke.

One of my last posted was about the Advent Conspiracy, which helps us to remember what  it’s really about but for more of us this time of year is far from that.

Maybe it’s about war.

I went to a church service on Christmas Even that insinuated that this is the case, "this is about war."  I usually refrain from calling people out or saying things that would offend (to much) so i will try to do that again but i can’t help but to reflect on my Christmas Eve church experience.

For the first 5 to 10 minutes of the message the teaching pastor at the church i attended stated facts and made his case that Christmas is about war. It’s a war between those who are trying to take Christ out of Christmas and those of us who are trying and praying to keep him in. The preacher even said, to make the point, that some of us are using X instead of Christ in Christmas. And a gasp fills the room. After 5 to 10 minutes of laying the ground work for this Christmas war the message was finish by giving some good reasons why “Jesus is the reason for the season.” (could be go anymore cliche... I DON'T THINK SO)

SO...

#1. I don’t actually disagree with anything this guy said. For the most part people don’t care about Jesus during Christmas and for the most part CHRIST is not really apart of what Christmas is about for the average American. All true.

#2. What is Christmas all about and why do we preach on Christmas?

To remind people that there is a war going on? To remind people that things are going horribly wrong in the world and they better take Christmas back for Christ? I DON'T THINK SO. And this is just my opinion but i think Christmas is a season of HOPE. We are reminded that our hopes and dreams and more importantly the hopes and dreams of God were birthed in the form of a helpless baby on this day (give or take a few days / months) a couple thousand years ago. In my opinion this isn't the day to talk about some holy war it’s a day to remind people of the hope they have in Jesus, the baby that was born and the gift that was given to each of us on this “CHRISTmas day”.

To make it about ANYTHING other than this is to fail as a communicator of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In my opinion.

To be honest i got up and left about 7 minutes into the message because i couldn’t take it anymore and my son was a perfect excuse to get me out of there. Sorry Andrea (i left her to fend for herself.) I heard most of the message for the lobby but it didn’t get much better.

#3.  “Xmas / the birth of Jesus is such an epic story! TheChurch needs better story tellers! Until we have better story tellers no body is going to want to listen.”  This was my tweet after that service and i think it’s true. i mean come on, "Jesus is the reason for the season" can we not do better than that? Until we as the Church tell this epic story in a more compelling way no body is going to want to listen. God will do his thing and draw people to himself but imagine what could happen if we actually participated and use the material he gave to tell compelling stories, imagine the people that would listen and then follow.

I read one tweet by a well know Christian who said, “Maybe we need to take Christ out of Christmas because it’s not really his day anymore anyway.” Or something like that. I ditto that! This holiday isn’t about Jesus so why fight it. Maybe we just need to make our lives and all of our days about tell the story Jesus instead of fight a war that doesn’t matter. Jesus doesn’t care about a day (that he probably wasn’t really born on anyway). He cares about people embracing him and receiving the gift that was given, himself. That the important thing... let’s use this holiday we call Christmas or Xmas to tell that story, to tell it in such a compelling way that people receive the gift and live all year with this gift in mind.

Grace and peace & Merry Christmas and happy holidays

erik

PS :: sorry this as such a long post, i intended for a short reflection... #FAIL