Sekai no Hikari: Light of the World

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Do you get Christmas?

Okay, first off, I’m super tempted to rant about Duck Dynasty right now, but I won’t. And here’s why: There are more important things in life than arguing about celebrities. Yes, I understand that America is not going down a good path, and I understand that theoretically, this intolerance of Christians could lead to persecution, but no matter how angry we get, it won’t change things. And frankly, we Christians need to accept that things are going to get worse before they get better.

Anyway…back to the thing I was actually posting about: Christmas. Now around Christmastime, there are always a flurry (no pun intended) of blog posts about everything that’s wrong with the modern conception of Christmas: too much consumerism, too many “pagan traditions,” too little helping the poor, too many people who insist on keeping nativity scenes out of public places, the list goes on. But does this really change things? Maybe for a select few, but for the majority, hearing what they’re doing wrong at a time that’s supposed to be about grace and peace? Not helpful. I believe that the way to change Christmas for the better is not to stop giving gifts or do anything radical. The radical-ness has already been done. Instead of doing and going and working to be better people, we need to focus on Christmas. The self-improvement will come naturally as a result.

Christmas is about Christ. Plain and simple. It is about remembering the most beautiful story ever told. And guess what? It’s true. If you are not absolutely blown away by what happened at Christmas, you need to do some remembering. Maybe getting some new perspectives will help a bit. I know when I discovered how ineffably amazing Christmas was, it was because I really got it. I understood the gospel. Now I’m going to say a few things that really make Christmas come alive for me.

One of my favorite names for God is Emmanuel – God with us. Now, we take the concept of God being with us for granted, since many of us have been around it for a while. But deists don’t believe God is even involved in the universe, much less that He is with us. Buddhists don’t believe in a personal God. Muslims believe that Allah sends prophets and such, but never that he actually lives with us on this earth. But we believe that God – the creator of all things, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, infinite God – actually limited his infinity. How does this work? Well, in mathematics, there is the expansive kind of infinity. From infinitely negative to infinitely positive, from past to future. But there are also an infinite number of numbers between zero and one. Therefore, infinity is actually contained in a way we can understand. That’s what God the Son did when he became Jesus, the human being. He contained his greatness in a human shell, yet he was still fully God. We believe that God Himself deigned to come to our world and walk among us.

Another one of my favorite ways to understand Christmas is the song, “Welcome to our World” by Chris Rice. Here are the lyrics:

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking,
How we need to hear from God,
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting,
Welcome Holy Child,
Welcome Holy Child.

Hope that you don’t mind our manger,
How I wish we would have known,
But long-awaited Holy Stranger,
Make yourself at home,
Please, make yourself at home.

Bring your peace into our violence,
Bid our hungry souls be filled,
Word now breaking heaven’s silence,
Welcome to our world,
Welcome to our world.

Fragile finger sent to heal us,
Tender brow prepared for thorn,
Tiny heart whose blood will save us,
Unto us is born,
Unto us is born.

So wrap our injured flesh around you,
Breathe our air and walk our sod,
Rob our sin and make us holy,
Perfect Son of God,
Perfect Son of God,
Welcome to our world.

So there you have it. The creator who became his creation, the artist who became his art. Jesus, the only one who could save us, is born. And we are saved because of it.

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