A Christmas Proclamation
Something has to change.
On the exterior, you have it all together. Nice job and beautiful wife. Children. You have had a long and esteemed career with accolades and adulation. You’ve become an industry leader. You are becoming important and the world needs you. Except.
Something needs to change.
Coming into this Christmas season you are wondering if you can make it through another awful holiday season. Spending more money on crap that ends up in a drawer? Heck, the carols. The lights. The wrapping. The scurrying. Did I mention the money yet, oh my lord the money! All for what? Piles of over priced plastic trash to pile on top of the already enormous pile of plastic trash in the burgeoning closets stuffed to the brim. And socially, there’s no avoiding it!
My Lord! Something has got to change.
You have a tree standing in your living room, lit and gorgeous. But maybe you are missing the point of that particular decoration – standing there – staring at you. I’m betting that tree cost you upwards of $100? Never mind the trimmings. Just go ahead and quadruple that number. Heck, that tree has possibly cost you a thousand dollars. More? And still it stands there, telling you, brazenly, you are just not getting it.
Oh my God! Does it have to change.
And those annoying services your aunt makes you go to. Where that guy, hopped up on something illegal for sure, stands up there just constantly chucking scripture indiscriminately. He makes absolutely no sense. Oh oh, and the donkey and sheep in the live manger scene? That are constantly getting up and trying to make a break for it? Year. After. Year?!? And all you want to do is fast forward past the 25th. Just freaking fast forward past it all to the 26th.
Because, it’s gotta change.
It just has to change.
Here at THiNC. I get a ton of agnostics and atheists that wander through here quite regularly. And I absolutely adore learning from each of you. Listening to you. Hearing how you think and why. Love it. We share a love for complicated movies. We love discussing and debating details and insights. Which means? You are very smart. Smarter than me by a factor because I just can’t keep up with you and your wittily intelligent rejoinders. But maybe? Maybe just maybe? You are too smart for your own good? Because oh my good Lord almighty! Something has got to change. This just isn’t sustainable anymore.
Well, you like turning movies inside out. But what about life? You love wrangling with the latest Nolan flick, but what about wrangling with the meaning of life for once? Grappling with this Christmas thing. Pointing your brain at it for once?
Let me say this… I literally have the most amazing gift to give you. More amazing than anyone could possibly give to you this Christmas. Your husband could literally purchase the hope diamond, wrap it, and place it under the tree, and you know what? Hands down I have a better gift for you. Yacht? Couch change. Xbox One X with matching 4K TV (cough sweetie, cough!) … nothing. That is nothing in comparison to the gift I have for you in the form of this Christmas proclamation for you this season.
And you know why? Because you and I both know – this isn’t sustainable anymore. Because you just can’t do this one more year. The inanity. The joviality. The tinsel? But have you stopped for a second and considered that the world, and its story of wealth and success is lying to you? Have you even once thought about the fact that the little baby in a manger might actually be the greatest gift ever given, seriously? And not just a social trope, a metaphor, but a real life, salvation story. Your own salvation from the inanity of life. Maybe you should take a moment and seriously consider the fact that your inability to go on is connected directly to the fact that you were made for one purpose and one purpose alone… and that is connection and communion with your creator? And have you considered that the gaping hole in your chest that no Christmas present will ever be able to fill is because relationship with God is what you were made for?
But how do we possibly leap the chasm that is our lostness and sin? Brilliant question – he says to himself! That’s what that baby in the manger is all about. That is what that tree in your living room is all about. That is what that stupid live nativity in your church is all about. That is what the presents under your tree all point towards… the one perfect gift. The gift of Christ, come to earth, to die on a tree for your sins, for my sins, for our collective debt that separated us from Him.
What is funny though, is that you’d rather keep up pretenses. You’d rather go limping through life believing that if you get your wife just one more diamond ring your relationship will finally make sense. Or that if you have that McDonald’s dollar menu item, you’ll finally get that rest that you deserve today. You’d rather go it alone with a plastered grin across your face than admit you don’t have it all together. You’d rather lemming your way off the nearest cliff instead of actually look around you, look and see that you really are lost and in desperate need of salvation.
Could you possibly just stop. Stop and listen to the music? Hark!!! The heralds are saying. The Angels! Glory to the new-born King! Peace on earth. Mercy mild…… GOD AND SINNERS RECONCILED. Or or or… how about this one? Silent night. Holy night. Shepherds quake at the sight. Heavenly hosts sing alleluia, CHRIST THE SAVIOUR IS BORN!! Or maybe this one? O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining; it is the night of our dear savior’s birth! Why is it that society is actively avoiding such poignant lyrics? Because they are offended by the truth of it. But despite whether Christmas carols are abolished or not, the truth of the music is still true. Christmas is a glorious celebration because we are celebrating the birth of our savior. Sure, dumb them down. Sure, avoid them. That is your choice. And I get why society is running from these words and these truths. Because it is painful to consider that we can’t American dream it to the top. It’s painful to admit that the rat race is a big fat freaking lie.
My Christmas Proclamation to you is simple enough: God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent His son to live a perfect life and die an embarrassing death, naked, bruised, and bloodied on a cursed tree. Did you know that dying on a cross was the most embarrassing way a human could die back in Roman times? It meant the person was cursed. That tree in your front room, with the sparkly, twinkly lights, and all that tinsel? Yeah, that is a symbol of a system of torture. It is the scandal of the cross that Christ willingly chose to die upon that tree for you. He chose to die the most horrifyingly scandal ridden death imagined by man to pay for your sins and mine.
The baby in the manger points, 100%, to the cross. That’s what Christmas is all about. It’s about a birth, but it is also about a death.
But better than all of that? Christ didn’t stay dead. He died, paid for our sins with His blood, and then rose again triumphantly over death. Death has been conquered. But you are choosing to go it your own way. And that way is heading straight into the maw of death. Why? God has given you the free gift of Grace through Christ’s death and resurrection. This Christmas season you could completely and totally walk away from the lie of this life and receive the free gift of life through Christ. You could. But will you?
My prayer for you this Christmas is that the eyes of your heart would be opened. That you would see the chains and entrapped slavery you walk around in sans God. Yes, this isn’t popular. Yes, this isn’t politically correct. I do not care. Big T capital Truth is all I care about. And letting you know that God loves you this Christmas season is all I care about. That and letting you know that the single best gift the world has ever known is sitting under the Christmas Tree waiting for you to open it. It is the gift of salvation through Christ. It is reconciliation between you and the omnipotent creator of the universe. Sure, you and I could go back to chatting about movies. We could act like this never happened. But my prayer for you is that this would be the most important conversation we ever have. Because it is the most important topic we could ever discuss.
Don’t spend another Christmas without opening the gift under the tree. Stop hobbling through life with a stiff upper lip. You weren’t made to go it alone. You were designed specifically for close intimate relationship with your God. And that is my Christmas Proclamation for you all today. Christ came. He died for you. And He rose again. And that is the greatest single bit of news anyone could ever proclaim for you today. But will you stop and hear it above the din of holiday chaos and bustling?
Something has to change
– and thankfully it already has. And all you need to do is take hold of the gift you’ve already been given.
God really does love you. He really really does.