Have you ever heard that phrase “shooting yourself in the foot”?
Unfortunately, I feel like Christians have become the authorities on this phenomenon. We create pithy little statements that fit succinctly on a bumper sticker, so we feel like we are just Christian enough to justify not living like a Christian in every other area of our lives.
It’s like, “hey, I’ve got my evangelistic! bumper sticker, so I’ve done my part of the great commission!” Little statements like, “know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace.” Man… that’s brilliant, I’m sure people get saved every time you cut them off in traffic.
I know this is probably the most sarcastic post I’ve ever had, so I’m asking you to sit through this one- and read it to the end. I really feel like when we say these pithy little statements we actually undermine our Christian values- we shoot ourselves in the foot. In other-words, we commit treason against the very reason we exist.
The reason Christmas exists, quite honestly, is because the Roman empire wanted to convert a pagan group of people to Christianity. They really liked their solstice feasts, however, for their pagan sun-gods and such, so the Catholic church in an effort to make the transition as seamless as possible essentially said, “hey, we’ll just celebrate Jesus on this day!”
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas- no I appreciate that the Catholic church redeemed this day in December. My point, rather, is that Christmas exists because of NON-CHRISTIANS.
Uh-oh. Other people are the reason for the season? That doesn’t seem right.
I digress, however, because Jesus is still the focal point of this holiday, and I am all about Christo-centricity. I like Jesus a lot. I try to make everything I do about Him. Not so well, usually, but I really do try. Here’s what gets me about that bumper-sticker type faith- it creates wars out of everything. Modern Christianity seems to think that it has to create culture wars out of EVERYTHING. But Max, you say, Romans 12:2 says not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, so we ARE at war with the world. Some of you might even point to the classic Johannine dualism of “world/Jesus” to support these blatant attacks on everything Christian X deems “unChristian.”
This is where my favorite part about this WHOLE thing comes in. The reason for the season is Jesus, right? Jesus… ya know, the God that became part of human culture so as to redeem and rescue us from ourselves? That guy who invaded culture, whose group of friends included whores, tax-collectors, and all around sinners? Sounds to me like the reason for the season is that God cares so much about us and our culture that He chose to speak through and into it.
It’s funny that Jesus’ mission was often carried out through relationship building with those he was told he shouldn’t be in relationship with. The woman at the well is a great example. Jesus approached her and explained that He had the truth and offered it freely. He didn’t have some pithy statement to demean her and make her feel stupid and unimportant. Demeaned and unimportant is how I generally feel when I read bumper stickers- especially Christian ones (and those stupid COEXIST bumper stickers, but that’s a rant for a different day!). Christ calls us to fellowship and break bread with sinners, not to evangelize at them from the comfort of our vehicles, or respond with a slightly rage filled “MERRY CHRISTMAS” to their heartfelt “happy Holidays.” Or when I abbreviate it to Xmas. That one’s my favorite. I saw a bunch of people light up a well-known pastor on Twitter because he did that… like X doesn’t stand for the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter of “Christ.” But hey, getting mad and bashing people for doing things differently than us is a great way to spread the message of “keeping Christ in Christ-mas (even better when you pronounce it Christ-mass!).”
So for that reason, I believe that we undermine the “reason for the season.” We essentially commit treason against Jesus’ purpose here on earth- to fulfill the law and covenant we were unable to fulfill so that ALL people could know Jesus. Instead, we are content to throw stones, retreat from our world, and leave it to die. How very treasonous indeed.
Happy Holidays (cause there’s Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Years)!
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.”