I love Christmas if for no other reason than the sentimentalism and nostalgia it elicits within my soul. Now that our almost three year old knows what’s going on I find myself reliving those fun days of my Christmas youth. It makes the little boy in me want to go out and buy some Legos, build them and then play with them like my brother and I did many eons ago at Christmas time.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that such emotional attachments are one big reason why Christmas Eve church attendance is so high. Christmas is comfy and cozy, singing Silent Night in a darkened sanctuary while holding a candle is really touching. The idea of God coming into the world as a baby in order to save us is also touching and nice. But there’s a menacing aspect to that babe in a manger.
All is well until he begins to preach, to teach and to do. He’s a likeable savior until he calls me out for my lethargy, consumptive narcissism and outright selfishness. Like the people of Nazareth I am ready to push him off of the cliff of my established self/ego so that I might continue on in my life as usual where grace abounds all the more. Where the problem is not “in” here but “out” there. Best personified in the statement from Michael Scott, “it’s not me, it’s you.”
It’s very easy to like Jesus, it’s very hard to follow him. It’s very easy to be selfish, it’s very hard to forego self. Things are easiest when things stay the same. Such was the reason for the conspiracy to have Jesus killed. After all it’s better for one to die than for all to be lost to the unknown. It so easy to forget that what started the Christmas season was the call to change and that Jesus continues such a message. A menacing aspect of Christmas, of that babe in a manger, is the question(s):
Now that he is here, will we change and will we follow?