A Blog Reply
Stu started it. Well, at least I think he may have. Actually, who knows. However.. I thought that his comment on commercialism could maybe do with some more fleshing out… I said he had a bit too much of the Christmas Bah Hum Bug.. and he has fleshed out his response to the Advent season…
the significance of the birth of Jesus is tragically overemphasised in the scheme of things. what is so much more important about his birth than the ‘sermon on the mount’? isn’t it strange that we celebrate the inoccuous and safe ‘baby’, the powerless and weak, the unvocal and entirely mysterious infant version of Jesus. sure it’s celebrating a beginning, but our festivities reflect nothing of this.
christmas services around the country are slick and professional, but they run the risk of placing too much importance on this cultural celebration. what’s the real meaning of christmas? i’ll be bold. to make a point of connecting with all the people in your relationship gamut. that’s noble and something to be encouraged, but it’s got zip to do with the birth of christ or even much to do with his message (that last point is arguable i’m sure, but the cynic in me doesn’t get much past the ultimate superficiality of it all)….the life of the incarnation however is talked about. this is the point of celebration, though we don’t really celebrate that very well either.
Here Beginneth My Reply
Firstly.. let’s understand that there is a large amount of mutual respect here, and so I freely debate this, knowing that Stu will by no means take it personally and I think that we speak from the same side of the coin, just different parallels.
That sits ever so much better.
For the majority of us, it is all about the life and times, and very little to do with the birth or death that makes our existence meaningful.
Have you ever noticed that it only ever seems to matter where famous people are born or die?
One cannot be separate from the other, yet the timeline between the two has as much significance as the events at either end?
I do still think that people need to be reminded of the miracle though..
I do think that people need to be reminded of the miracle. It’s good to inject the cynical world we live in with the glory of a what if? The point at which God enters the Human Timeline in human skin does bear significant weight for the rest of the story. A well crafted narrative does rely on a clever introduction.
I disagree that we celebrate the beginning without appropriate reference to the eventual death and thereby the salvation pathway opened up. In fact, I think that the disturbing tendency to celebrate the birth whilst constantly talking about the death brings us to our point of agreement..
Which is that the Life becomes the the ultimate tension between two events equally important in the landscape of Humanity’s relationship with God. In his birth and death he is equally Divine and full of human mess of blood and flesh. That must be celebrated, and ought to be. It’s neither His Birth, His Death or His Life alone that carries significance, but the whole story. We ought to seek to celebrate each appropriately.
And regards the weak baby Jesus?
There’s something wrong with my generation, and with the generation before me, and it was probably the same thing wrong with the generation before that.. We all seek and strive to somehow take care of ourselves. I think for a lot of us, the fragility of a Saviour born into a 3kg lightweight who was utterly dependant on the humanity around him to sustain him and keep him is a lot scarier than than a strong grown Jesus who could speak wisdom and perform miracles.
Society has figured out ways of dealing with that grown Jesus. They have called him Wise Teacher, and other such things. But they have never figured out what to do with the Babe he was born as, or the teenage mother that he came from. And maybe that’s why we haveto keep celebrating the Advent with passion and energy and maybe even Wise Men and Shepherds in the stable simultaneously.. because people need to be reminded that there are things in life still to be figured out, mysteries still revealing themselves. There are still entry points for God to enter into those human lives that have not yet discovered him.
Embrace Christmas for all of it’s possibilities, don’t do away with it for it’s faults. It’s another opportunity to tell the story, and every story needs a good beginning.
Rant over. Long blog entries are dumb.