Christmas from the New Testament
Jesus is not simply a babe in a virgin's arms, a curiosity to shepherds or an adventure for wise men; He is the regent of heaven.
Jesus needs to be liberated from the manger and lifted from the hay.
Christmas is to be freed from smelly stables, exotic eastern gifts and a supernatural sky.
The infant Messiah in a wooden feeding trough cannot be contained by an ancient miraculous event, wrapped in rainbow paper and adorned with glitter. He is not the great I was but is correctly still the great I am. Jesus STILL is in the present and not just an antiquated figure.
An Incongruous Christmas
The heavenly child that was born in poverty and escaped the murderous Herod to Egypt, has both the hands of mercy and a face to violence.
Christmas is summed in one word - incongruity.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10:34)
Christmas is the Father in heaven demonstrating He will no longer endure competitors to Him for He is the only one to worship.
Christmas does not hint, nor is it gentle, for this babe destined to be murdered has claimed priority over all earth's allegiances. He demands an uncompromised devotion.
Christmas is no witness to a soft annual easy-believism secured by advertising, frivolity and an excusable self-indulgence. Christmas is the bellow of heaven seeking violent men to be violent with them-selves and take hold forcibly of all this babe's claims over them. The kingdom of heaven is not for the weak-kneed or the people-pleaser.
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. (Matthew 11:12)
Christmas cries that this world will be torn asunder when all its people are divided into two groups.
Raucous claims of radical discipleship are tattooed over two millennia; no gentle Jesus meek and mild beaming innocently from a filthy wooden basket can ever capture the wild purpose of His birth.
For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:35-39)
Do the above verses betray intentions of a retiring timidity? Could they be whispered through hazel eyes peering up from a valueless crib? Of course not!
Christmas is about a clenched fist, gritted teeth and rock solid determination that counts no costs, takes no prisoners and settles no treaties until God's kingdom has come.
The great and only I am ushers war to a world that has lost its soul, as He claims all of earth for Himself. This child, who visited earth in the backwaters of old Judea and was welcomed by unnamed strangers, trumpets this day - I claim you too!
The timeless appeal of this Christmas baby is to exchange the Sunday-school meek and mild infant of the eternal nativity plays, for the strong and wild Jesus who walked the deserts of Judea, had nowhere to lay His head, only to be hung ignominiously upon a rough splintered cross.
It is time to call for war on a benign birth and a passive faith, for there is no room for such belief at the inn.
Own this Christmas knowing that the manger became empty so that the cross would become full.