Articles

What’s Missing Here?

In Culture, Jesus on December 6, 2011 by scottsund Tagged: ,

The 2001 Santa Picture: No Santa? No problem!

In our family we have a Christmas tradition of taking pictures with Santa.  We do this each and every year, normally incorporating a special holiday meal after the picture is taken.  Since 1999 when we were newlyweds, we’ve been faithfully doing these annual pictures.

One year (2001) we had plans to take a quick picture with Santa and then head to dinner with friends.  We didn’t have much time because our Christmas season was so busy.  As we approached the “Santa Station” in the mall we noticed with disdain Santa was nowhere to seen.  “He’s on a break” one of the elves explained.  Hmm…not good.  How are we going to take a Santa picture with no Santa?  I gave the elf an extra $5 and asked if we could sit in Santa’s throne and take our annual picture.  No problem! He replied and thus, that is how we came to have a Santa picture with no Santa Claus.  When people visit our house now and look at the last 13 years of pictures, most of the time people don’t even realize that one year, Santa wasn’t even in the picture!

My point?  These days it can often seem that we don’t really need Jesus for our current celebration of the Christmas season.  Just as Heather and I didn’t need Santa to continue the tradition, I wonder if Christ’s absence during the Christmas season would even be noticed?  We’ve turned Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the “anti-materialism”, “justice for all” Savior into a kooky, present filled, orgy of gluttony.

The Advent season, the time of expectation and awaiting of the coming King, should be a time centered on Jesus Christ.  We wait.  We long for His arrival.  We tell stories of His goodness.  And we tell others about the significance of the baby from Bethlehem that would change the world forever.  Before Christ’s birth, we were cut off from God because of our own sin and fallenness.  Humans could approach God through purity and cleanliness and worshipping at the temple.  But no matter how hard humans tried, we couldn’t get it right.  So God fixed it.  He sent His son, part of the Holy Trinity, to a simple birth in a barn in a backwater town called Bethlehem.  And Jesus, God in a Human Bod, lived among the people, healing and teaching and changing the rules of the game.  This was the same Jesus who was later put to death on a cross and rose 3 days later.  It is the victory that we celebrate at Easter.  But before all that, there is a beautifully simple birth story in a barn. 

The challenge this month in the chaos of the Christmas season is to continue to think about Jesus.  Tell stories about Jesus.  Let your life shine for Jesus.  This is how we fight back against the cultural forces of Black Friday.  This is how we swim upstream and leave Christ on the throne.  So that on Christmas Day, as we celebrate Christ’s birth, we would realize that nothing is missing– we are celebrating the very Savior who makes our lives whole.

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2 Responses to “What’s Missing Here?”

  1. Scott, the question I used to ask myself was why God didn’t get it right in the first place? To think that God used “trial and error” in His creation process just didn’t seem to fit with His Nature. Then it dawned on me: If God is perfect and his creation is perfect, then His plan for salvation must also be perfect. This means that the Old Testament, The Law, the Jewish Traditions, the animal sacrifies; all were part of God’s Perfect Plan.

    So why didn’t He just start off with Grace and the Church? Because the whole plan of God is meant to glorify the Father, to show His holiness and man’s utter depravity in the absence of a devine intervention. God’s plan of Salvation started with the creation of man and was completed with the Resurrection of Jesus and the Birth of the Church with the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in man.

    This does not mean that those people in the Old Testament were without hope. On the contrary, God told them of his plan and established patterns of living, highlighted by making sacrifices for sin until that day that the Ultimate Sacrifice would come. Their sacrifies were substitues for what would come, and in shedding the blood of animals they were looking forward to the coming and evential crucificion and resurrection of the Messiah.

    The “Rest of the Story” is that God’s plan is not finished! There is still more to come. Just as we witness from His faithfulness in His Word and in our life experiences, we know we can trust Him for our future Eternal Lives. God’s plan has ALWAYS included something in which to look forward! Paul said in Romans 8:18 that the suffering of the present time are NOT WORTHY to the GLORY which shall be revealed in us!!

    So let’s PARTY HARDY while we celebrate Christ’s birth. The giving of gifts is a symbol of GOD’S GENEROSITY with mankind. We need not be ashamed in giving and receiving.

  2. Looks great! Scott. It’s a perfect allegory

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