And so this is Christmas…

Christmas is coming.

Unless you’ve been locked in the basement for the past month you can’t help but notice the oncoming holiday storm that is Christmas. Decorations, gifts, advertisement, stores, songs, even our cars have been decked out for the holidays.

It seems to me that Christmas messages can usually only go to the extremes. Extremely sappy, extremely love-y, or extremely depressing.

But very few seem to hit right in between.

Boo 2008!

2008 has been, lets face it, a dark time for many. Between the economy, jobs, loss of loved ones, or whatever situation you may be going through personally – it’s made for a fairly awful year. This can make watching or reading those extremely sappy or “oh everything is wonderful” type of Christmas stories extremely uncomfortable. Sure it’s easy for the story teller to tell us “buck up everythings gonna be fine” when they’re not the ones facing a pile of bills, a laid off spouse and the threat of more impending doom.

The Christmas Story

There’s a lot of confusion about the real Christmas story. Jesus’ birth has been, in my opinion, really feminized and sanitized. The true story isn’t sappy or romantic. The real story is about how a woman, Mary, was chosen in the darkest time, to be pregnant without a husband. A huge cultural no-no. It’s about Joseph, who knew the baby wasn’t his, still made plans to marry her to save her honor. How she was sent off to a cousin’s house to spare her. It’s about angels informing both parents that they had been selected by God for this task.

The real story of Christmas is about an outside occupying force (Rome) forcing Mary and Joseph to take a trip when she was extremely pregnant. It’s about there being so many people in Bethlehem there wasn’t any room — not even at the Motel 6. It’s about a girl who had never given birth before, gave birth without a fancy hospital, an epidural or even a crib.

The real story of Christmas is how the most powerful being in the universe came to earth in the fragilest, most inconspicuous way. It’s about how in the cold and dark, love gave a gift and humanity was saved.

Not saved in a traditional sense. When the baby Jesus grew up, he didn’t kick out the occupying force. He didn’t overturn the government. He didn’t do all the ‘normal’ things a powerful being ‘should’ do.

Instead he touched people on an individual level. He asked them to follow him. He encouraged them to live by God’s rules. Not just that, but to live by God’s rules because of their love for God. He taught that obedience was an act of love, not an act of slavery or burden.

The real story of Christmas is the story of Easter. Crappy things still happened to Jesus. The religious leaders of his day hated him, they ridiculed him and found a way to get rid of him. He was stealing their thunder, attracting followers and he had to be stopped. In the end, they had him killed. And not only killed, but killed in the most brutal way imaginable.

Through it all Jesus never claimed his power. Through the pain and hurt and rejection, he stuck through it all because he loved us.

The Real Message of Christmas

That’s the real message of Christmas. It’s okay that bad things happen, they’re going to happen. Love isn’t about the absense of bad. It’s about working through the bad until the good comes. Much like “It’s a Wonderful Life” – Christmas makes way for spring.

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  1. Posted December 16, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    What she said. And Amen. We’d be a lot better off we obsessed a little less about eight million cards, armed combat in the malls, and the associated stress that the world has superimposed on this season. For unto us a child is born, and his name shall be called The Prince of Peace.

  2. Posted December 19, 2008 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Found your blog while blog hopping.
    LOVE this post! 🙂

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