Thursday, December 4, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Christmas

I just got Jeffery Meyers’ commentary on Ecclesiastes in the mail and found it interesting that he introduces the reader to this book with observations from the Christmas Season:
Families are gathering for annual feasts. Dazzling decorations have been strewn over buildings, homes, and even doghouses. Bright lights, evergreen boughs, multi-colored bulbous ornaments, and glittering silver strands of garland garnish windows and doorways all up and down the street. It would seem from all outward appearances, that everything is right in the world, that peace and joy reign supreme.
         But as everyone knows, colorful Christmas decorations often mask dark depression for many people. Even though the feast of Christmas ought to be a time when even those who have much to be troubled about experience a ray of divine joy and happiness around the table with relatives and friends, oftentimes the season itself exacerbates people’s problems. How can this be?
         The Christmas holiday season has been increasingly cut loose from its foundation in the Bible and Christian tradition. Modern Christmas seasons provide us with little more than sentimental, syrupy niceness and nice thoughts about a mistily-glowing baby Jesus. All we are left with is the commoditization of vague religious sentimentalism. There is no spiritual power in this. What’s worse, because of this the Christian faith seems, to many in our culture, little more than an attempt to stir up comforting religious feelings to mask one’s real troubles with the world. But this is so far removed from the Bible and genuine Christian tradition that it has to be considered another religion, one that plays make-believe with the dirty realities of this life.

This is a deep application of how the significance of what Christmas means, and needs to mean, can be lost.
As I read this I immediately felt—Yes, Jesus has come and all is well! Of course that is easy for me to say. I am happily married; my wife and I have five great children. I have a good job. We have food, clothing, shelter, and friends.

But I wasn’t thinking of myself when I was overcome with this joy and gladness. I was thinking of those who I know, and know of, who are alone or sick or poor. I was, pardon me, speaking for them, smiling for them.
I was happy for them. I am happy for us all. 
Isn’t that what the coming of Jesus is suppose to accomplish? After all, we don't live 'under the sun' but in the glow of that star that was shining over Bethlehem.    

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