It’s that time of year again. Actually it’s been “that” time of year since October in the stores. Pseudo-Christmas music blares from the speakers in shopping malls and advertisers tell us it wouldn’t be Christmas without “X” – whatever goods or services they represent.
We get sucked in to this “normal” way of life in Western-style cultures. Blindly accepting the fact that Christmas was actually developed as a way for Sony and Nintendo to sell more units, Coca Cola to increase its profits, Apple to launch a new gadget and some guy who grew more pine trees than he knew what to do with has an opportunity to get rid of them and make a buck at the same time.
That’s “normal” these days.
How have we managed to accept this “normality”?
Look back 150 years and Christmas had more meaning. It was a time to remember Jesus. Advent looked not only to the coming celebration of His incarnation, but also to the return in Glory on the Last Day. St Nicholas was a tall, thin man with a dark beard in a blue coat who was remembered as the man who threw a handful of coins through a window of a poor man so his daughters could get married. Fast forward and he’s become an overweight red-faced, white-bearded giant of a man in a Coca-Cola Red suit (yes, they were the ones who put him in red) who parks flying reindeer on the roof and climbs down impossibly thin or non-existent chimneys to put the previously mentioned Nintendo into a stocking.
We need to be better than this. The Manger leads to the Cross and mankind’s Salvation.
Stockings and consumerism don’t feature in any other religion in the world. Anyone ever wondered why that might be?
Satan has no interest in undermining false religion that leads people away from God and Salvation through Jesus. Christmas he makes about a fat man in a red suit who bears more resemblance to the Roman deity Bacchus than Jesus or even Saint Nicholas. Easter becomes about rabbits hiding eggs for children to find, chocolate consumption inducing early-onset diabetes in already obese Westernised children and the other Christian festivals are ignored and abandoned altogether.
And we’ve accepted it as “normal”.
That strange rattling in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome is St Peter turning in his grave.
We bought the bait and set the trap ourselves, embracing consumerism instead of Christianity. The rhetoric of hate-speech currently pouring out of Donald Trump – a man I admit I once respected – is as far removed from the Gospel as it is possible to be. His plans are reminiscent of Hitler’s identification of the Jews in the 1930’s leading to the Holocaust.
And we sit blindly by likening the refugee crisis to a bowl of M&M sweets where 2 out of 20000 have been laced with poison and we are asked in this obscene picture how many we will eat!
Don’t get me wrong. There is only ONE way to Salvation – Christ’s work on the Cross and Resurrection. Islam is a false religion of legalistic dogma and predestination not free-will. I have a friend I care about a great deal whose husband is divorcing her for the third time (yes, the third time) who I may not have any contact with for 3 months now because I am male. She has to stay in her home and not even wear perfume until she has had three periods to prove she is not pregnant with his child as the divorce is finalised. He on the other hand is free to marry another woman the moment the ink dries on the divorce certificate.
But this isn’t about bashing other religions. It’s about shining a light into dark places.
That’s what Christmas is about.
Eliminating the false concept of what has become a “normal” life and rediscovering the Truth of a restored relationship with Jesus and God the Father.
This year, how about we do away with trees and tinsel and perhaps go feed a destitute Muslim family over the holidays. I can’t think of a better way to honour and respect the tru meaning of Christ’s incarnation than that.
He forgave the soldiers as they were killing Him. He forgave the torturer flaying the flesh from His back with a scourge-whip interlaced with flint or bone slivers to cut deep into the flesh.
That was the purpose of the Manger. That is what we must remember this Christmas.
Not a new Playstation.
Not a Worldly “Normal Life”
Look to the Cross behind the Manger.