Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Twelfth Day of Christmas and a Bar Fight

Christmas Eve means last minute shopping and food to make and hustle and bustle of preparations - gifts wrapped and anticipation of the following day.  It is wonderful to have the routine lifted and people focused on things like family and giving and togetherness.

It is very much outside the stream of that first Christmas . . .

We have already talked about the uncertainty and the confusion that was associated with the particular events that bring us to this day.  Wise men and shepherds and murderous kings who wanted to end the life of the Christ child.  It is funny how all of this drama gets expressed in a holiday season that we sum up as a "Silent Night."

How comforting when we think of our lives and how far they are from "Silent" or "Holy."

Sometimes we compare ourselves to the serenity of Christmas Carols - as if to fit into the rhythm of God that we need to clean ourselves up a bit.  But that is not the essence of Christmas at all.

Christmas is a profoundly confusing and upsetting time in which God acted in a way on this earth that no one anticipated  - and many missed.  I mean, think of it - for centuries people anticipated the coming of the Messiah - someone to come and deliver His people from earthly adversaries.  Instead, when he does show up he talks about the need for our sin to be forgiven.

Not exactly what they wanted to hear.

It is like finding yourself in a bar fight and losing very badly.  At just the right time your father shows up and you breathe a sigh of relief thinking he has come to team up and take care of your adversaries.  Instead, he talks about the need to address sin in your life and atonement.

Christmas was the beginning of an era in which we thought about God not as the guy who would give us what we want, but what we need.  Even if it wasn't what we were expecting.

So if the events of the next week find you confused and let down - family, friends and even your life doesn't live up to the expectations of the season - know that you are in good company.  Christmas is about turning life upside down - not so much about all being "Calm and Bright."

Take a breath and rest easy that God is working on your mess in the midst of the mess.

Merry Christmas!

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