Inconvenient Christmas

     I'll be the first to acknowledge that the world doesn't need more Christmas songs competing for attention. I wrote some, though, because so few traditional Christmas songs relate to real life. They tend to be a celebration of the kind of perfect-- or perfectly cute-- Christmas that exists only in a Norman Rockwell painting. As a husband and father, I know how much work goes into Christmas and how rarely the thing goes off as planned!

     I can't find a perfect Christmas in the Bible. The first Christmas is set in one of the darkest periods of human history. It is impossible for any of us in the modern Western world to imagine the depravity of the ancient world, a time before medicine, public sanitation, plumbing, or anything resembling the Bill of Rights... a time of public pagan rituals, brutish men, temple prostitutes, and child sacrifice... to say nothing of what it was like to live as persecuted Jewish community under Roman occupation.

     But the good news is that Jesus was born precisely into such darkness and for its sake. I need to hear that again every year. God's own “Inconvenient Christmas” and the “true meaning of Christmas” are one and the same thing. God has gone out of God's way so that we could be shown the way. God inconvenienced himself in Christ, so that we would learn to inconvenience ourselves for others and take the light into dark places.

     Those can be troubling, difficult journeys to take. But if the helpless newborn in the filthy stable says nothing else, it says that there are no short cuts. The detour is the true path.

1 comment

  • Dennis Rogers

    Dennis Rogers drogers@gabaptist.org

    Thanks for timely words. It is always good to be refreshed in my spirit by your words and music. (You are still my favorite musician.)

    Thanks for timely words. It is always good to be refreshed in my spirit by your words and music. (You are still my favorite musician.)

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