Christmas 2017… once again one of “high holy seasons” is upon us: Christmas. It is interesting that Christmas was not even a ‘thing’ celebrated in Christian churches until the 336 AD, when the Emperor Constantine institutionalized it as official in the Roman Empire. The incarnation of Christ was certainly understood and celebrated by Christians prior to that, but the ‘platforming’ of it took three centuries and a political leader. We could certainly debate whether the institutionalizing of Christmas was a good thing or an unfortunate highjacking of true sincerity of the coming of Jesus the Christ.
This year, we want to help give all of us perspective concerning Christmas in the midst of the dichotomous world where we live. Our world is so full of good and bad, highs and lows, victories and defeats. The reality of a world that seems so chaotic can tend to dry up our souls, callous our hearts and dull our spiritual senses. In the midst of all the ‘stuff’ of our culture, and the worldwide turmoil, it seems totally incompatible to celebrate a ‘Disneyland’ or ‘Gooey Butter’ type of Christmas. Yet we still desire to engage the beauty of Christmas and all that comes with an authentic observance of the incarnation of the Messiah.
This year, we are going to attempt to push through all the lights, glitter and tinsel of the season, as well as the turmoil and brokenness that surrounds us, in order to engage four qualities that define Christmas. One quality will be unexpected, one will be something we are desperate for, one will be assumed and another the pinnacle. If we are successful in embracing these four qualities, we may not have to reject everything both ideally preferred and painfully real. Maybe these qualities can define the dichotomous experience we have this side of heaven.