Though Christmas has become mostly commercialized there remains a shadow of true hope lurking beneath the surface, even amongst those who overlook the first six letters of the word. There is a deep longing in the world around us and it comes to the surface a little more during this time of year. But I think most of us have learned to tune it out because we're too distracted by form. We're so busy trying to convince the world that "Jesus is the reason for the season" that we usually don't hear the cry of the heart that is desperately searching for deliverance - especially when it's our own.
The cry might sound like this:
Christmas Eve ... the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be. It's a miracle ... and if you waste that miracle you're gonna burn for it. ... If you give ... if you believe ... the miracle will happen to you. ... it can happen every day, you just gotta want that feeling. And if you live it and you want it you'll get greedy for it. You'll want it every day of your life. And it can happen to you.
-excerpt from the movie, Scrooged, with Bill Murray as Frank Cross
It's easy to pass stuff like this off as seasonal babble made to sell a movie, isn't it? But the fact is that it touches hearts for a reason, and that reason seems more real than what we're usually prepared to offer - or to hear. If we were to listen, to really listen, we might hear the utter disappointment of a world that somehow knows humanity was destined for something magnificent, something far greater than anything that has ever been experienced. To be "the people that we always HOPED we would be"! Somehow, even the short-lived season of niceness hinted at on Christmas Eve can be enough to satisfy the desperate hope that IT CAN REALLY HAPPEN. And we have tried ... and have tried ... and have tried ..."
And with all our trying the disappointment just won't go away - even when we try to infuse it with the real meaning of Christmas. Maybe that's because the real meaning of Christmas is more than a nice story, more than a feeling, more than a doctrine, more than a celebration, or more than any or all of the above put together! What if it was more than the shadow of hope - that desperate, UNFULFILLED desire of being the people we always hoped we would be?
If the real meaning of Christmas is Jesus, then WHO and/or WHAT is Jesus? A textbook answer that sounds TO YOU like a doctrine to be defended will never do (Nor will a simple feel good answer). I'm not suggesting that the true meaning cannot be expressed with words, for it has been many times. But the words are only an EXPRESSION of the reality and not a REPLACEMENT of that reality, which means that just because you got the words down in an accurate, doctrinal form may have no relation to the understanding behind those words.
Jesus is the UNION of God and man, He is the joining of the Creator with His creation, He is the Word made flesh. Though He is, in fact, the Son of God He preferred calling Himself the Son of man. When Mary gave birth to that little baby a new thing had happened. He came to bring the new creation to pass IN HIMSELF. He is the real man, He is the magnificence that we had only dreamed of. He gave meaning to the empty shell by bringing the life of God into it.
And yet, we have turned Him into something that He is not. With all our proper doctrine we still project Jesus as an icon of the SEPARATION between God and man instead of being the reality of the UNION between them. We somehow look at Him and see our unworthiness instead of being blown away by the fact that HE IS our worthiness! We live defeated lives because we hold Jesus as being a divine example instead of being our divine life. We are STILL wishing we could possibly be like Jesus instead of realizing that He came for the very purpose to make us the righteousness of God - and He DID it.
Here is some homework for you: Take the above quote from the Scrooged movie and change a few words and see if it doesn't sound more like the gospel messages you have heard - or maybe even preached - most of your life. Yeah, we're still talking AS IF it CAN happen ... instead of the fact that IN CHRIST it already HAS.
Until next time .....
the shovel (aka Jim)