Christmas

There are many sideways ‘swipes’ at the Christian faith which go on in the media throughout the year. But Christmas really seems to bring out the worst in third rate comedians who think they’re being funny or original in mocking the Christmas story. So often in recent years (2009 being no exception), I’ve heard the sneering jibes made about ‘the baby Jesus’, and unsavoury humour about the Virgin and child, delivered in that deprecating way which will jar on the hearts and minds of all true Christians. But I find it impossible to be judgmental; heaven knows, I once ridiculed Christ myself.

Once, I too laughed at the bible and mocked the Christian faith and at the accounts relating the coming into the world of the Son of God. There was a time when it never occurred to me how amazing it was that the sovereign Lord of creation should choose to enter this world as a man at all, let alone as a helpless child rather than a mighty prince in a fabulous palace. Nor did it strike me as odd that he should live his life as a servant, prepared to take everything that the world could throw at him, including the ultimate degradation of death by crucifixion.

How could I – how can millions of people still – look at these events and laugh? Or, almost worse, make no response whatsoever? It is because they simply do not understand; nor can they, for the things of the Spirit are foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 2:14). They do not understand the scripture that tells us that Christ always existed (John 1:1), nor that he set aside his glory to stoop to this murky world (Philippians 2:6-8). They do not understand that Christ did not have to come, but that the Father sent him out of sheer love (John 3:16).

Looking back over my twenty six years as a Christian, I find it hard to try to recall my thinking back when I (thought I) was an atheist; why I laughed at and ridiculed the miraculous accounts relating to Christmas; of the Star and the Magi from the east; of the virgin, with child by the Holy Spirit; of the angelic choir singing ‘Glory to God in the highest’. And yet I wonder now, in retrospect, how else I could have imagined the infinite (assuming the possibility of his existence) would enter into this fallen world. After all, this thing could not have happened unless God caused it to happen; how else could God enter time and space as a man but by God?

I should not have been surprised that there would be mind-boggling mystery and miracles surrounding this most wonderful event. But I was neither surprised nor unsurprised; I was dead – I was blind. But now, I am alive and I see (Luke 15:24, John 9:25). Once, my clever ideas were idiotic and I blundered through life like a brute beast, an enemy of God. And I bow my head in shame, though I’ve long known that I am forgiven. And I do not dare boast, nor pass judgment, but only pray for those who are as I once was. And I worship my God for his lovingkindness this Christmas time; this mighty, wonderful Saviour who makes all things new (Rev 21:5).

May I wish all students and staff of KEDS and all who have shared a similar journey to my own… and anyone else who may happen upon this post, a most blessed and peaceful Christmas for 2009.

  1. Chris, thank you very much for your comments, and for the great work you do at KEDS. I hope that you, along with all staff and students have a blessed and peaceful holiday season, filled with the peace that the world cannot give…

    This year I too have been aware of the mocking of comedians and others. I have to say that whilst in many ways I have been blessed with the gift of a self-deprecating humour, I do not find much of this so-called humour terribly amusing. There is of course the ‘shock factor’, but I wonder whether such outrageous mocking of other religions would be tolerated, let alone promoted, by our broadcasting agencies…

    But then, I’m not sure that the Christian community can lay the blame at the feet of anybody except ourselves. I am sure you have seen the articles about the billboard outside a NZ Anglican Church displaying a crude “bedroom scene” involving Mary and Joseph. That may be one instance, but I think it belies a more widespread tendency among some groups of Christians to sacrifice the sacredness of something in order to ‘provoke discussion’.

    Anyway, these issues aside… MERRY CHRISTMAS. Thank God for a blessed 2009 and best wishes for 2010.

  2. Ollie
    Thanks for your kind comments.

    Yes, the shock factor! I have to admit to once or twice, particularly early on in my faith (when I took a much more liberal stance than I do now) falling in with this kind of thing; I guess in the hope that it would make the hearers think… ‘this guy is okay; not stuck up or trying to shove his religion down our throats etc’. Nowadays, I’d be more likely to let them to think whatever they like; just so long as any offence which may be taken is at the ‘foolishness’ of the gospel and not a dislike of the way I’m living it or communicating it!

    Blessings to you and yours also at this wonderful time of celebration.

    Chris

    Blessings

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