I gotcha a dollar. O, O, you almost had it!
Disclaimer: (fine print) This blog will be offered from a Judeo-Christian perspective and from a pastor in a mainline denomination.
The season of Advent is upon us in the Christian church and it is a time of waiting with expectation for the coming birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas for us is all about the Son of God taking on flesh and choosing to live among humanity. Christmas for us is about the Son of God living and dying a sacrificial death so we would not have to experience sin's curse and death's sting. Christmas is all about the work of Jesus and less about humanity's achievements. Christmas for us is about reconciliation of our souls and regeneration of them by the Holy Spirit. It is great that humanity enjoys the benefits of all that Jesus has done for us through His resurrection. Out of His work, we are offered healing from sin and commanded to love one another.
Yesterday, I was intrigued by an advertisement on the internet.
I read the headline and immediately was encouraged. Wow! A major corporation is acknowledging the spirit of the season. I was thinking they would be promoting Jesus. They were thinking humanity and mentioned nothing about God, Jesus, or "Christ"mas. Oops! Nice try big corporation. Admittedly, the video was well done, but it spoke about our human spirit and achievements. It spoke of unity and harmony which are good attributes. It spoke about diversity and celebrating the creativity in other people. The big corporation hit those nails squarely and I congratulate them. The main theme of this season apparently is based upon a humanistic notion of all our goodness. Reminds me of the line from a popular insurance commercial.
"I gotcha a dollar. O, O, you almost had it. You'll have to try harder than that."
Perhaps the worst interpretation of a holy day is when secularists choose to twist the meaning into something that lands lightyears away from the original event. The big corporation didn't present anything bad in and of itself. But this "season" Christmas doesn't exist apart from the birth of the Son of God roughly 2000 years ago. There can be a observations of Saturnalia or other astrological celebrations but not Christmas.
As I chewed on my disappointment toward the big corporation, I thought of the message we in the church are offering. Does our worship, programs, and mission focus preach Jesus Christ? Hope so. Or, are we avoiding the main reason for the season of Christmas? Are we promoting a warm soft cuddly version of Christmas instead of the glorious entrance of God in the second person of the Trinity?
Are we connecting the baby born in a cow trough to the Lamb of God hanging on a Roman cross? The 'spirit' of this season for us is all about our freedom in Jesus Christ and how this newfound liberty calls us to minister to a confused world.
As in His first coming, there were many who denied the event and sought to kill the Christ of Christmas. So, in His second coming, the world continues to distance themselves from the real reason for the season. Too bad. Let it not be so for the Church to ever forget the spirit of this season is Jesus.
PS: The big corporation did promote their fancy new computer products and baited the trap of consumerism. "I gotcha a dollar. O, O, you almost had it. You'll have to try harder than that."