’Tis the season of peace and joy. It’s Christmas! Yet the tranquility keeps getting interrupted by controversies over the tradition. Ban nativity crèches! Ban carols from our schools! Ban Christmas trees from public buildings! And there’s been no end of backlashes. I am baffled: How can this lowly infant of ancient times cause such a political and cultural battlefront? Why is there even a need to dispute over nativity icons in public spaces? Remember: No angel announced Jesus’s birth in Caesar’s courts. Angels didn’t even visit the Temple or tell the religious authorities about the glad tidings. Instead, the angels visited some social outcasts - poor shepherds who were banned from the Temple because they were too “defiled”. And foreigners, some distant star-gazers, received the news by a star. They eagerly set out on a long dangerous journey through the desert to see this special child. Yet when a nearby ruler, King Herod heard, he feared that a rival king had been born in his territory. So he declared war on the Christchild: He set out to annihilate all male infants – just to be sure… so he thought. Mary’s Boychild was not glad tidings for everyone – especially for those who craved power and dominance. Consider this: Jesus was born at the height of the Roman Empire. Today we marvel over Rome’s breath-taking symbols of power: their buildings, monuments, and so forth. On the down side, Rome’s power and wealth was acquired by massive pillaging and genocide - bullying on the grandest scale. Even still, this supreme empire became the ideal model for power-hungry empires in future eras. Baby Jesus’s arrival would not have been glad tidings for these zealous empire builders anymore than it was for King Herod. Does it not seem strange that any crèche, or any Christmas feature appear in centers of power or wealth, or even creaturely comforts? It’s a contradiction, is it not? Mary’s Boychild was born in a stable because there was no room for him anywhere. Since that dark silent night, there has been no room for him in many-a heart. Jesus came to bring peace and joy in a fallen world – not with symbols of stately powers or symbols of religious expressions. He deployed neither sword nor crèche.As I see it, the real war on Christmas is not over its symbols, but over the Christchild. The real warzone is not in the courts, schools, or marketplace, but in our own hearts. That is where he is either a threat to our ambitions and pride or a welcoming King of kings. May the Spirit of the Christchild bring true peace and joy into your hearts! DE
Diane always good to see your posts. Your writings are always very thought provoking. Indeed the War on Christmas is a war on Jesus himself.Blaine
"The real warzone is not in the courts, schools, or marketplace, but in our own hearts. That is where he is either a threat to our ambitions and pride or a welcoming King of kings." So true. Still after so many years, I read the words of Jesus in the garden when he said, "Not my will but thy will," and I think of the burden of those words, the sheer weight. Spoken like a man crushed under a mountain, willing to bearing its load. I think, this man ... this man alone is worthy of every loyalty. In the darkness of night, when no one would see, he bore the burden, the burden that is me. Who can have ambition in the face of this? He is welcoming because he bore the weight of punishment that I deserve. He is worthy to receive all praise, honor and the collective glory of every relieved pilgrim. Man or woman, boy or girl. The war cannot be in the courts, because in Jesus heart he waged the battle in the garden. All could have been lost there. So too, we succumb to his victory in dark places with yielded hearts whose hidden things are on display for heaven to see. I too appreciate your thoughtfulness sister. Great post, a good devotional thought for this morning.
Thank you bearmaster and arleadymind for your reflections. You validate my train of thought. This article is to be published in the local newspaper - for a secular audience. The following documentary about the Roman Gladiators reveals the sharp contrast between the Christchild and the world in which he was born. This society would not have welcomed the Christchild! This is very well done, I'd say: Medieval Lives Roman Gladiatorshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=989FY4igdP4
Very nice article, roadsign. May I contribute one?The True Meaning of Christmas Trees: The Spiritual Abuse Connectionhttp://www.ericpazdziora.com/the-true-meaning-of-christmas-trees-the-spiritual-abuse-connection/
Just-in,Thank you for posting the link to that article. I really appreciated it. It brought out the simplicity and power of the gospel.