This is not the time of year we want to hear about a hostage situation. However, Christmas has been taken hostage by the powers of spending and getting and an infant Christ child who represents only a syrupy good will to all.
It is troubling to see Christmas depicted by well-meaning TV programs as a time to put on a veneer of cheer to all you see and good deeds to friends and strangers alike. Is that the heart of Christmas? Is that why God became man and suffered on a cross?
One more thing, we spend at least five weeks preparing for December 25 and then it’s over. December 26 we begin returning things that were to bring happiness, peace and good feelings but failed miserably. We begin focusing on celebrating New Year’s Eve. Like a flip of a switch Christmas is over for another year with no lasting impact. Was the first Christmas a single event that ended there in Bethlehem? We must be reminded that Christmas is just the beginning and must be taken with us into the next year and every year for it to have any lasting purpose.
This in part is the task of today’s preachers, to preach and teach about the true meaning of the first Christmas and why God become a man? Was it simply a friendly visit to his creation only to have things turn ugly? About all we hear is a message that makes us feel good and remain comfortable in our current circumstance and ungodly lifestyle. To do all we can to maintain peace during family get-to-gathers and sow cheer and good will.
Jesus did not come to earth to have a group hug or to tell us things aren’t as bad as we think they are or appear to be. He came because the world and the human condition are worse than we want to admit and there is nothing we can do to change it. Without outside help, help beyond man himself, we will simply self-destruct and that means facing an eternity of great pain and misery.
Christmas begins a confrontation with all that is wrong with our world and the very nature of mankind. It sets the stage for the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, (God speaking to Adam/Eve and Satan) “From now on you (Satan) and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He (Jesus/Messiah) will crush your head,(total defeat) and you (Satan) will strike his heel (temporary defeat).” This is far from establishing peace on earth for all mankind, rather it is establishing peace with God through Jesus Christ.