Have we made Christmas too safe?
That’s what I’ve been wondering this season. Has Christmas become a predictable mish-mash of traditions that have been separated from the earth-shattering power of the incarnation?I’m not bashing Christmas traditions, you realize. When it comes to Christmas traditions, I’m all in favor.
My family dives into Christmas traditions – the tree, the lights, the nativity sets, special dinner, family time – the works! So I’m not belittling these things at all.
I’m just wondering, is it all too safe? And what do I even mean by safe?
Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure. I’m just reading the words of the prophets and noticing some fairly cataclysmic language. The heavens being torn open, the mountains quaking, the nations trembling, valleys being lifted up, mountains being made low, and that kind of stuff.
Earth shattering. Powerful. Transformative.
If by “safe” we mean innocuous, secure from risk, stable … well, the only thing “stable” about Christmas was the place Jesus was born.
The birth of Jesus changed everything.
God. Became. Human.
The thought should stagger you. The first inkling of understanding as to what the incarnation truly means should feel like a bolt of lightning electrifying your soul. The sheer power of Christmas scatters the proud, brings down the powerful, lifts up the lowly, fills the hungry, and empties the rich, as Mary sings in Luke 1.
Have we somehow hidden that behind a big inflatable lawn Santa that plays “You Better Watch Out” over and over again? Are we so blinded by the glare of strings of computer programmed LED strings that we can’t see the light of the world any more? Is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra drowning out the sound of the voice of Zion up on the mountain announcing the presence of God?
This Christmas, don’t be safe. Take a risk. Do something you’ve never done before, for the sake of Jesus. Honor the birth of Christ by continuing the mission he inaugurated.
This Christmas, change the world.
(This is my offering for this year's Advent Devotion book published by Campbell UMC. The devotion book is online again this year, and can be accessed and subscribed to by clicking right here.)