I appreciate the words from Madeleine L’Engle’s poem “After Annunciation” when I think about the confused state of Christmas in our culture. These words in particular help me understand our confusion: “This is the irrational season/ When love blooms bright and wild/Had Mary been filled with reason/ There’d have been no room for the child.” The conception and birth of Jesus is God’s initiative going beyond anything we could dream of. This is God getting involved in the particularities of life. As Eugene Peterson puts it, “Birth is painful. Babies are inconvenient and messy. There is immense trouble in having children. God having a baby? It’s far easier to accept God as the creator of majestic mountains, the rolling sea, and the delicate wild flowers.”
The Incarnation, God becoming a human being for the sins of the world, is the heart of the gospel in my understanding of the story. I take time during each Advent season to just think about what God did when he came as the baby Jesus. It truly brings a spirit of worship and awe. A key to our sharing God’s story in our day, is to keep the conversation on Jesus, who was God and man in human form. Yes, it may seem irrational, but it is the truth. He is God come in the flesh, the savior of the world. “So the Word became human, and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” (John 1:14). So men we have lots to celebrate about at Christmas
However, a recent Pew Research center poll found that while nine in ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, only one half of Americans view Christmas mostly as a religious holiday. Another one third viewed it as more of a cultural holiday. Young adults were less likely to believe in the virgin birth. A total of 66% of adult between 18 and 29 believe that Jesus was miraculously begotten by God, compared with 76% of all other adults. So it seems that we also have a vital message to share with others, in a culture that is losing the meaning of Christmas. So instead of being caught up in “the Christmas wars” we should simply be telling the story of what really happened. It is still the good news
One other thought about this “irrational season.” C.S. Lewis talked about the incarnation as an “invasion.” The Son of God came as an infant baby to invade enemy territory. He live of obedience to his Heavenly Father. He defeated the devil. Our enemy has no authority in our life. Listen to these words from The Message. “When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive – right along with Christ. Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets:”(Col 2:13-15). So go and celebrate your liberation during this “irrational” season.