Yesterday I talked a bit about who the Christ actually was expected to be. This is important because if we decry the removal of Christ from Christmas we should probably know what we are so upset about.
The Christ was 1. The true king, and 2. the Rescuer from pagan enemies.
What does this mean for us today? How can we put Christ back into Christmas? Let's start with our deep need for him.
We want a true king, a good, wise ruler of the world. We yearn for it. Many of us cry for it.
Think about how we reacted when "king-like" figures take power. When President Obama took office in 2008, tears were shed and celebration ensued for some. Their hopes had come true, a real leader will take them where they want to go.
Or think about how Cleveland reacted when their "king," Lebron James, came home. "We will finally win! Our championship drought will finally end!" He returned, and hope came with him. Whether this hope is misplaced is for another time, but hope he brought.
And we need rescuing from the evils of our current day. We yearn for the "powers that be" to have their chains broken and smashed. We want freedom and rescue. We want our enemies destroyed, and our people esteemed.
So when we ask others to "put Christ back in Christmas" I suggest we remind ourselves, and of course others as well, what we are actually saying.
"Put Christ back in Christmas" =
1. Put the king back on his throne! Look to the only one who can fulfill all of our hopes and dreams, the only in whom our hopes will not be misplaced. Look to the humble king who lays down his life for his subjects. Look to the loving king who welcomes all the destitute and broken and hurting and poor. What a king!
2. Remember the rescue. We have all been found guilty of the evil we despise. We find ourselves selfish and manipulative, greedy and debased. We justify the way we hurt others, and we approve of that which brings pain and hurt to the world. We do this knowingly and unknowingly. But one has stooped down to our level to redeem even us! Because of his rescue, we no longer need to give into our greed. Our Gollum-ness has been loved ultimately. The rescuer has not cast us away, but welcomed us home, and in this new home we have unlimited love and approval.
Those two realities are what I want put back into Christmas. I want those two stories told.
All that to say, yes, I'm in league with the ragamuffins calling for the "putting of Christ back into Christmas." Let's just put the right one back in.
And then let's live it out faithfully.