Friday, December 4, 2015
Our passage from Luke begins with a veritable list of who’s who, the people and places that matter in the world at that time: the emperor in Rome, the governor of the province, the rulers of the territories, the leaders of the Temple.
And then suddenly, our attention is directed to a nobody in the middle of nowhere.
He’s calling the people names.
He’s calling them out on their arrogance.
He’s not pulling any punches.
He’s demanding that they too change their ways.
And still he draws a crowd.
But the most remarkable thing of all…they are listening to him. Rather than beating him to a pulp, they ask, “What then should we do?”
Can you imagine this being a part of our culture’s Christmas preparations?
…to gather willingly as a community and face our faults?
…to go seeking another person’s perspective on how we need to change?
…to really listen to the hard truth?
…to call this good news?
Instead we seem to pile on the Christmas stuff, right on top of whatever is already there.
And the Christmas tunes ring hollow as we hear of another mass shooting.
And the family celebrations are tense because the unresolved issues have not gone away.
And the manger scenes are simply decorations because there is no welcome here.
And the prayers are just words.
And the joy is illusive despite all the effort and expense we go to.
And nothing that we consume will fill the emptiness.
And when the Christmas celebration is over, the same old stuff is still right there waiting for us.
But imagine just for a moment what Christmas could be like if we prepared according to John’s way. To enter the celebration of Christmas with sins acknowledged, brokenness mourned, action identified to live in this world in a different way. To prepare for this holy day turning to and longing for the only one who can redeem. To welcome the coming kingdom into our lives right now. To trust with all our hearts that, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
So, which of these ways sounds like good news to you?