When growing up in the 1950's in the United States, Christmas time was full of Jesus. I would admire manger scenes in store windows, on church lawns and community areas. We even visited live manger scenes. Each year my family would carefully set up a crèche in the living room.
Isn't it amazing to see the great efforts in 2004 to take Jesus out of the Christmas celebration? Christmas trees, snowmen, Santa Claus, beautifully decorative items abound — even a few angels can be found. Where did the manger scenes go? Have you seen many in the stores — the shepherds, the wise men, Mary, Joseph, and the babe in a manger? Remember the camels, the sheep and the donkey? Where did they all go?
Taking Jesus out of any area of life has its consequences. Without the absolutes found in the person and principles of Jesus:
- The legal system – truth and justice – are forfeited.
- The economic principles and decisions begin valuing profit over people.
- The healthcare system slowly loses compassion; acts of mercy become rare commodities.
- The governments of the world? Power and position win over reconciliation and trust.
However, as important as the principles of Jesus are in these arenas, He did not come at Christmas to rescue governments, healthcare systems, or economies. Jesus entered time and space to rescue us. The resulting transformation in us will change communities, systems and governments.
Jesus hasn't left us, but sometimes we leave Him out, closing the door on all the resources of the mighty King. We give and receive fun gifts, without much thought of the greatest gift of the universe. How silly. How distorted. Whose birthday is it anyway?
Speaking of Joseph, Mary and Jesus,
"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son." (Luke 2:6a NIV)
Sharing the journey with you,