Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas and an Incredible Ability to Miss the Point

I heard on the morning news recently that someone had stolen the baby Jesus out of the Nativity scene at the Masonic Home in Franklin, Indiana.  Now, mind you, this isn’t some cheap, plastic or blow up baby Jesus.  This is a actual 25-pound statue.  It took a little work to carry it off.


Why would anyone go out at Christmas and steal the baby Jesus?

Me and Our Tree
When I was a child, our annual Christmas tree had these really large plastic decorative bulbs that ringed the bottom.  Mom put them there every year.  They weren’t anything truly remarkable.   They were only plastic after all.  Maybe they were unusual in their design and size, but they were not made of anything expensive.  Finally, one year I asked Mom about them.  Where’d they come from?  She told me that my brother had given them to her.  My brother that had died when I was only seven.  Then, she added:  “He stole them from Muncie's downtown Christmas decorations.”

Okay, so I understand a mother’s natural sentimental feelings regarding a gift from her lost child, but the fact is that she had been using those stolen ornaments for years before he had died.


Why would anyone use stolen ornaments to decorate their CHRISTmas tree?

A few years ago, my daughter spent the night with a friend.  It was a group sleepover, and they watched a video of one of the hottest recent movies of the time.  The Passion of the Christ.  Yes, the movie that graphically depicted the death of Jesus Christ…the fellow that Christmas is named after.  Well, they were all gathered around the screen engrossed in the intensity of the film…eyes glued to the events depicted…when someone got up and walked in front of the movie.  No, I don’t mean that one of the girls got up in that room and walked in front of the TV.  Rather, I mean that someone on the screen got up and walked in front of the movie.  Basically, the girls were watching a stolen film of The Passion of the Christ.  Someone had sat in the theater with a video camera and had filmed the movie, and then distributed essence they stole the death of Jesus.


Why would anyone steal the film depiction of Jesus Christ dying for our sins.  Um, sins like stealing.

They steal statues of the baby Jesus.  They hang stolen ornaments on their Christmas tree.  They steal movies of the death of Jesus.  They do all of those things for the same reason that folks like us get so angry and raise so much ruckus over the removal of Christ from Christmas.  Happy Holidays.  Seasons Greetings.

They do it because human beings have an incredible ability to miss the point.

You see, Jesus Christ did not come to this earth, walk our streets, heal the sick, be flogged to a bloody pulp, and die on a cross just so that we could all have a holiday in December named after Him.  He wasn’t born in Bethlehem, lain in a manger, and announced by angels just so we could break down the doors on Black Friday or break the internet on Cyber Monday.  No, folks, He didn’t come to seek and to save Christmas.

Rather, He came to seek and to save us…to change us.

He wants to change us from the self-serving, thoughtless, broken people we are, and make us into a people who love one another.  A people who care for the unfortunate.  A people who build up instead of tearing down.  A people who bring peace to a broken world.

Doctors and nurses who risk their lives to save Ebola patients.

A young boy who gives out free hugs at a protest.

A police officer who buys eggs for a grandmother trying to feed hungry children with no money.

A ninety year old veteran who feeds the homeless.

And the countless other nameless individuals out there that secretly assist their fellow man or woman without any need or desire for commendation or notoriety. 

So, this Christmas, as you fight the crowds, attend the parties, and watch your favorite Christmas movies, try to keep the point in mind:  

Jesus Christ is the reason for the season, and we can keep Christ in Christmas by keeping Christ in us.

“Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  
Luke 2:10-14

Merry Christmas, and I hope you have a wonderful New Year in 2015!

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