Friday, January 5, 2018

Subversive Resistance!

Dear Friends,

I miss Christmas already. I loved going into the most secular retail stores and hearing the words to Hark The Harold Angels Sing on their music system: “Christ by highest heav’n adored, Christ the everlasting Lord. Late in time behold Him come, offspring of a Virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the God-head see, hail the Incarnate Deity...”

We all join hands and celebrate that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” and then we end the season and put Him back in the box. We take the lights off the dried-out tree and carefully remove the fragile porcelain nativity figurines from the stable. We bubble-wrap the baby Jesus and pack him away.

A family was driving by their church the week after Christmas. Their son had noticed that the Nativity Scene in front of the church had been already taken down. The little boy said, “Look! They've put Jesus away for another year.”

That's what the world does with Jesus. If Jesus was even a part of their Christmas celebration, He's now packed away with the lights, ornaments and tree stand. But does your celebration of Jesus really end when there’s nothing left under the tree but dried pine needles scattered on the tree skirt? Is your joy and happiness gone after gifts are opened and the trash cans are overflowing with empty cardboard boxes and crumpled wrapping paper?

By the end of the 19th Century, the start of the Christmas season was no longer being determined by the church. The major department stores had hijacked the holy days and reinvented Christmas to be a time of giving gifts. Today the Christmas season is driven by the National Retail Federation and officially begins when the plastic Santas are on the shelf next to the Halloween skeletons. And the season is officially over as soon as the Christ- mas clearance items have been sold and the January “White Sales” have begun. The baby Jesus is gone but there’s an astounding 30-60% off on all sheets and bedding at Macy’s! 

Let's do something revolutionary and take back the Christmas season! Let’s continue to make it Christ-centered and have it start on the first Advent Sunday. But then let's do something even more radical. Let's have this “Christ Season” never end! What if our celebration and worship of Jesus started every year on the first Sunday of Advent and didn’t end on December 26th? What if the “Season that Jesus is the Reason of” never ended but the season of joy just continued all year long? And then what if, on every first Advent Sunday, the never-ending season of celebrating Jesus just started all over again?

And what if every day of that season, we longed to live our life in the presence of the One who was the Child in the manger? What if every day of that season, we dropped to our knees to confess our sins of the day and prayed that God would make us into the image – the very likeness – of His Son Jesus Christ? What if we took every opportunity we had during our new extended Christ Season to speak with others about Jesus. What if instead of just inviting our family and friends to church with us on Christmas Eve and Easter day, what if we invited them to come to church on February 11th or how about May 27th? Or even August 12th? Or even next Sunday?

Christmas Day is over. Vacuum up the dried pine needles. Pack up the Nativity set. But don’t bubble-wrap the real Son of God and pack Him away. Let's keep the real Jesus right here in our day-to-day life.  Yes, Jesus is the “Reason for the Season,” but let’s be subversive and make His season a season that never ends.  Amen?

Reprinted from a 2013 AMEN Corner

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