“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” ( Isaiah 9:2)
Do you know what I like about Santa Claus and Christmas commercialism? Or about ACLU and our courts crushing creches? What could I like about the downside of Christmas with the crescendo of drunkenness, murder, and sadly, suicide? Not to mention the virgin Mary?
Think about Santa. Don’t you think it’s better to celebrate the benevolent old geezer than, say some dictator’s birthday? Or how about Lenin Day for the communist world? Aren’t you glad we don’t sing carols to that usurper of the throne of God, ”Hail to Caesar”? Why do I say such heresy? Well, what nation in all of history would spend 50% of its annual retail sales for GIVING AWAY? That’s why commerce in other lands can’t make Christmas fly like American commercialism. Commercialism? Maybe we should re-name it Generosity? Why, generosity is like God! Distorted, in the shopping frenzy of the holidays, to be sure, but surely better than celebrating martyrs who blow themselves up trying to kill people and gain rewards in heaven?
And what could I like about the court battles? Well, think of it this way: why do people make such an issue of saying “Merry Christmas” and bring endless lawsuits to get rid of every manger scene in public? Why fight so ferociously? They don’t fight Grimm’s Fairy Tales! Because Jesus is threatening, very powerful. The incarnation is not some human, gentle myth, but God’s powerful invasion of our humanity. It’s hard to stay neutral!
But what of that downside of Christmas? All the drinking and drunk driving, all that increase in the rate of murder, family murder at that? What can be good about that? It’s nothing but bad, distilled evil. But it does put into sharp focus what may not be so clear at other times of the year – our empty core without Jesus. And the hostility that breeds on our selfish core? All those failed expectations emerge from the shadows in the bright light of the Christmas season? And in the light of that brilliant star of Bethlehem how dark our lostness stands out. At Christmas people feel acutely what they do not have, in contrast to the high expectations of the special Day. What an opportunity to hold out hope to those who live in darkness! Isaiah 9:2 – “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”