Thursday, December 18, 2008

We Need a Little Christmas Now?

I was recently reminded (thanks Bob) of one of my favorite Henry Ford quotes. “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” By implication, his statement articulates a great frustration I have been feeling for some time.

If I asked Republicans who they wanted in the White House, they would say another Ron Reagan.

If I asked people defaulting on their “something for nothing,” buying beyond their means home mortgage what they wanted now, they would say a government bailout.

Hillary Clinton wants to hold another office. Donald Trump wants to amass more wealth. Britney Spears wants one more hit (I’m not sure of what, exactly – uh, I mean, on the charts… yeah, that’s it).

If I asked most Evangelical Christians in America what the world needed, they would likely say more Christians. But what kind of answer is that? I don’t even know what that means? Does it mean more followers of Christ or just more people who think like western Christendom; more people to validate the philosophical ideals of modern Evangelical Christianity? What does that have to do with Jesus?

It’s Christmastime. I’m reminded every year of how, in the name of anti-commercialism and “Jesus is the reason for the season,” Christians have prostituted the sacrifice and love of God. Jesus never once asked anyone to remember His birth. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea in theory. But, did you ever consider there may have been a reason he didn’t? Sometimes I don’t think this anniversary celebration has worked out so well in practice. It’s nothing new. We create a false sense of significance out of a moment, or a mole hill, or a manger, missing the larger point. Okay, maybe not altogether missing it. Rather, thinking somehow that the point is not strong enough to stand on its own without some pageantry or a little marketing push. Who is all this for anyway? Come on, really? Consequently, if the saints capitalize on heaven’s true agenda along the way, so advances the kingdom of the godly. Right?

Please understand, I believe there is great significance in the incarnation. But I don’t believe it is communicated best (maybe not even at all) by a light up, animatronic angel in my yard, glitter laden greeting cards featuring ridiculously large headed cartoons of white Anglo children wearing pastels, ceramic figurines in a miniature stable or the 73 different arrangements of “O Holy Night” I will endure (maybe even contribute to) this holiday season.

The infinite Creator of all things surrendered the omnipotence of deity and, by His own choosing, moved by flawless compassion, submitted to the form and limitation of creation. Love perfection. But, if you had asked the people of Israel what they wanted, they would have said another Moses or Joshua or David. Who told us we have any idea what we really need?

So, I will celebrate the yuletide crap out of Christmas this year. I will make wonderful memories with my wife, my boys, my friends and family. I will do it because it is important. I will do it because I want to do it. But, I’m not hoping to find a faster horse under my Christian-mas tree this year. I’m looking to unwrap a Model-T. Whatever the heck that is. Dear reader, I wish you the same.