Thursday, December 27, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

I'll have the Baby Jesus Combo, Hold the Cross, Repentance, and No Resurrection Please.

As far as speaking goes the month of December is not the "Most wonderful time of the year" for Wellspoken Ministries. Churches sit the speakers on the bench in favor of Cantatas, Parties, and Living Christmas trees. It does however afford me some much needed time of promotion, writing, and devout self introspection. I have for instance had some time read, reflect, and on occasion even turn on the old television. Of course the Christmas theme is in full swing, and in between shows I am inundated with a barrage of commercials selling every thing from dog food to donuts and everything else under the sun. This Past weekend my youngest son went to spend the night with a friend, and with the teenager entrenched in his room with headphones a blazing, Pam and I sat down together to watch tv. As I flipped from channel to channel and show to show, I began to have the awareness of an interesting dichotomy. Have you ever noticed that during Christmas our country and our world has very little problem with the baby Jesus? I will even go a step further. If I didn't know better(and I do) I could get the impression that everyone is on board with Christianity, and Jesus is in the lives of the vast majority of tv personalities and actors. I saw sitcoms, movies, cartoons, talks shows, news casts, annoucments, and even Matt Lauer mention the baby Jesus! And as far as music goes, oh my, I heard Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesnee, Tim McGraw, and Brad Paisley all sing christian carols with gusto! Shoot you can even go on I-tunes and find Silent Night sung by Rick Springfield, Sting, Justin Beiber, Blake Shelton, Wilson Phillips, Rod Stewart,Stevie Nicks and Boys to Men! I would dare say that outside King Herod, the Baby Jesus is a rock star! So why in the world is the Jesus who is so celebrated and sung about by so many, get to be so hated by the time Easter rolls around? Why is the baby embraced, while the man who dies on the cross scorned? I think my favorite secular author and Native South Carolinian captured it best in his book the Great Santini. In this book Pat Conroy's lead character is a teenager named Ben Meechum. He describes his feelings on the baby Jesus vs the Jesus of the cross.
"Ben believed in God on Christmas Eve above all other times, and on this night, he turned always away from the stern man on the cross, and ceased to believe in the hellmaker, the fire lover, the predatory creator, the godly carnivore who flung men and angels into a place of darkness and devastation, pain and endless fire. On this night he gave himself to the child, not the gnarled carpenter who himself was nailed to the wood he once worked with until he was called to walk among the Jews. The child would not send anyone to the flames. Ben knew this; felt it; hoped it."
Our world has a fundamental blindness concerning why this Jesus was born at all. We seem to want a fast food Jesus that is gentle, soft, and requires nothing. We want Jesus like Ricky Bobby does...... "Baby Jesus". However the birth of Jesus means nothing without the Cross, and the cross means absolutely nothing without the Resurrection! The world rushes to sing about the Babys birth, and then cowers at the Saviors death. And utterly refuses the saviors Resurrection. God sent His son into the world to get the entire job done. He didn't just start, he was born, lived a perfect life for me, died on a cross a death that I deserved, and then becomes an all sufficient savior by coming back to life in bodily form! My favorite place to eat a Burger has always been Burger King. I get to have it my way at Burger King. That is not the case with Jesus. The Bible speaks plainly that the sins of man, my sins demand a sacrifice. A sacrifice that I am unable by my very nature to make. And even as the world clamors for Jesus to remain the baby. He did not. Thank God He did not. "Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me. This Christmas don't settle for having it your way. Embrace fully "The Way".