Christmas Untamed

Years ago Sandy and I developed a friendship with a woman who rescued greyhounds.  She saved beautiful race dogs from being out down when their racing careers ended by placing them in dog-loving homes.  She had also adopted a greyhound of her own.  I remember first seeing her dog.  It was both a happy moment and a sad one.  It was happy because here was a dog enjoying life with a family that was no longer wanted on the racetrack.  It was a sad moment because here was the thoroughbred of dogs tamed and leashed.  Tamed.    Something wild and powerful and beautiful has been diminished (in this case) to become a common house pet.  When I saw this beautiful creature, everything about it cried out, “Let me run!”
Many of the beautiful experiences of the people of God have also been tamed down to make them palatable.  We love to tell our children about Noah’s ark, but the children’s books avoid talking about what happened to the people who missed the boat.  Christmas also has been tamed.   I’m afraid we’ve lost the majesty and power of Jesus’ birth.  We talk about Jesus ion the manger as sweet and nice but it was anything but that:  A new mother giving birth to her firstborn far from family and friends and in surroundings that left much to be desired.   In addition, think of the stigma that Mary carried with her in her small community having become pregnant before marrying Joseph.  Think of the threat that Jesus’ birth brought to the political situation at the time.  And yes, Herod had the baby boys in Bethlehem killed because he sensed a threat to his power when the wise men reported the birth of a new king.  What we hear as a nice story was life changing and world changing.   In short Jesus’ coming was revolutionary.

Mike Erre has commented:
We must constantly guard against the counterfeit Jesus who pervades our culture and churches. The real one is far bigger and more dangerous than we realize. We must consciously resist the temptation to tone him down or soften his teachings, or we may miss them all together.
I thank God that Jesus came to face the real and raw world, its sin and its darkness, its needs and its brokenness.  I thank you that God did not give us a story but his son who came into the world in all its harsh reality to die for us and our sins.

May God bless you this Christmas.

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