I like Christmas, especially the bits of Christmas that are actually about Jesus being born. There’s enough about the birth of my Savior to make me think thoughts of sweet sentimentality this time of year.
However, some of you jerks ruin Christmas for me. Here’s how you do it: You make Christmas about celebrating “family”. And, surprise, if Christmas is about a family - it’s about a teenage girl having a kid out of wedlock and an older man taking the blame and guarding her from the shame that would otherwise be involved. Sound like a perfect American family as painted by Mr Rockwell? Nope. Grandma and grandpa are nowhere to be found because they’ve probably written off lecher-looking Joseph and what-did-she-do-while-she-was-away Mary.
Ok, so now that you’re fully grasping the appearance of dysfunctionality in the Holy Family, let me present my gripe:
I am a pastor. This means that people let me into the dysfunction of their families. I know that your family will snipe at each other, talk behind each others’ back, I know who is sleeping with whom and how you feel about that, and that your family isn’t even close to being as perfect as what you’re trying to imply that it is with your Martha Stewart Christmas dinner. Don’t worry, my family is just as bad. Let’s face it - families are made up of sinners, and grouping sinners together in any conceivable way: by religion, by blood, or by romance - it’s still putting rabid dogs in the same crate.
This is where Jesus makes the difference. Your family is ugly, it’s detestable. Your family is filled with sins that grieve Your creator. Your family isn’t even coal-worthy, Santa Claus should just relieve himself down your chimney. That’s how “celebration worthy” your family is. But Jesus - this little boy delivered into a family system that everyone would say was ugly and detestable, He was born to die an undignified death on a cross so that family could actually be made perfect.
So this Christmas, do me a favor and hand me some eggnog with extra nog before you start lying to me about how important family is this time of year. Because it’s not. Jesus is.
Posted on Saturday, December 21st 2013