The Christmas season is upon us once again. Even though it is not even December yet, I find myself being cranky about it already. There’s just so much that bores me. Sickens me. Irritates me.
Take Santa, for example, or anyone of those endless television specials where one woman is sad, one man is clueless, and Christmas-related hijinks bring them together. We are so oppressed by this stuff that we forget that there is a better story to be telling this time of year. The consumeristic, stuff-obsessed, sex-obsessed culture has screamed an inferior story louder, and has drowned out the better one.
Christmas is not about Santa Claus and his simple story of self-interested morality. Christmas is not about shopping or decorating or buying. Christmas is certainly not that Hallmark Channel treacle that pollutes our television screens every year.
Christmas is about destruction.
Christmas is about how we were stuck in the middle of darkness, enslaved to evil, corrupted by sin, and imprisoned by Satan. Christmas is about how we were without hope, without light, without mercy. Christmas is about how God decided to do something about it.
God saw our plight. He saw the forces of injustice and evil and darkness and corruption at work in this world. He saw the bentness and brokenness of our own hearts. He saw us far from himself. And so, God marshaled all his power and sent in an invasion force to do battle with evil itself.
He sent a baby.
Alexander the Great, when he conquered the Ancient Near East, had an invasion force of 12,000 regular troops. The Norman invasion of England had roughly 10,000 men. The D-Day invasion saw 3 million men storm the beaches of Normandy. You would expect God, in an invasion this cosmic in scope, to send more than a baby boy.
This invasion was so small, and so unexpected, and so, well, let’s face it, pathetic, that it caught the enemy completely off-guard. Where he could have sent an invulnerable army, God sent a baby–as vulnerable as one could get.
But God was refusing to do battle on the world’s terms. God knew this invasion could not succeed with more death and more violence–those were symptoms of the very enemy he came to destroy! Rather, his invasion would be opposite of the enemy: gentle, peaceful, humble, merciful, compassionate, forgiving, and loving. And what better way than to invade this world as a baby–the exact opposite of this world’s conception of power.
This is the story of Christmas: that God himself came in the flesh as a baby boy to do battle against the forces of evil in this world. This baby boy, Jesus, would grow up and wage war against injustice and evil and sin. This Jesus would conquer death itself and open up to us the opportunity to live in his Kingdom, newly established in this world, and continue to invade the realm of darkness. He came to destroy the works of the devil so we could find the freedom, the healing, and the forgiveness we so desperately need.
Maybe it’s just me, but that’s a much better story than Miracle on 34th Street or A Christmas Carol or even Holiday in Handcuffs.
The one who does what is sinful is of the devil,because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work
–1 John 3:8
*The idea of Christmas being about destruction is not mine, I attribute it to Ben Stuart, who spoke at CHIC 2015.