Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Toward a More Inclusive Christmas

Unless you live under a rock you have heard the flap over the Obama White House and its initial thinking it was going to not put up the creche (a tradition) and work for a more "inclusive" Christmas celebration.

Every time I hear that -- "A more inclusive Christmas" -- I have to laugh. What could be more inclusive than the God who came to wear the human flesh and blood of a man, as a man, in order to redeem all men (and women) from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation. Christ is the exclusive Savior to the most inclusive faith on earth! How can you improve on God's "inclusive" gift of His own Son born to suffer and die and rise again for the whole world and each and every person? All that is required of us is that we trust in what He has accomplished and this eternal gift is ours eternally (and this faith itself is the prompting of the Holy Spirit so that we are off the hook for being required to do what sin would not allow us to do).

Goodness! It is not like we proclaim a Savior exclusive to the Lutherans or to the Methodists or to the married or to the heterosexual or to the worthy or to the deserving . . . We look over into the manger and we see all our faces in His and at the same time the face of God, all for the life of the world. This is not MY Jesus or YOUR Jesus but the Jesus who is born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit and who became incarnate for us and for all our salvation. He is not mine or yours but He is OURS.

What a strange thing -- to look to find a more inclusive Christmas. God has done a pretty good job with Christmas already. We are the ones who screwed it up. We turned it into a shoppers paradise and torment. We turned it into party central celebrating nothing more than a winterfest. We turned it from a holy day and the birth of unmistakable love to a holiday of love indulged in every way except the right one. No, the Christmas that God gave to us IS the inclusive Christmas the world and every person needs, and, if he looks into his/her heart, seeks.

Where guilt once ruled the day, forgiveness is born. Where death once reigned, life deposed it. Where a ladder of goodness was once the path to God, a ladder on which God descends to us has replaced it. Where God was once hidden, He has revealed Himself. Where prophecy spoke promise, God spoke fulfillment in flesh and blood. Where loneliness once spoke of division and isolation, God spoke community and relationship. Where once we were no people, God has made us His people. This Jesus is God's exclusive Son incarnate but His grace and mercy is inclusive beyond all pale, human imitations of inclusivity.

You want Christmas to be more inclusive? Let it be about Christ and the love that came down from heaven, was born of the Virgin and the Spirit, for us... all of us... to save and redeem the lost whom grace has finally and fully found.

No comments: