From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

What Christmas Is All About

Do you ever get tired of liberals trying to shock us conservatives? Here’s a story on Yahoo News about an Anglican church in New Zealand, and their billboard which shows Mary and Joseph (Mary in something like a nun’s habit) in bed together. The caption on the sign reads “Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow”. (you can see the story here)

One yawn from this old guy, who remembers one of the Wittenberg Door’s front covers showing a picture of Jesus above a bed in which a couple are, well, doing a little more than lying there. Jesus, of course, is blindfolded. Now that was funny.

Sex. It was God’s idea in the first place. He invented it. My gut reaction to this church sign is “big deal”. Mary in a nun’s habit – wow, fuh-nee. Joseph and performance anxiety. Har-de-har-har. A church doing just about anything to show the despising culture around it that it can be as irreverent as they are. Whoopdedo.

What does amaze me is the thought process behind the sign:

“Church archdeacon Glynn Cardy said the billboard was intended to lampoon the literal interpretation of the Christmas conception story and highlight the real significance of the festival. “What we’re trying to do is to get people to think more about what Christmas is all about,” Cardy told local media.”

And what would that be, I wonder? Sex? Cashing in? Being cool enough in the eyes of the world to get their attention away from the ‘net?

“Is it about a spiritual male God sending down sperm so a child would be born, or is it about the power of love in our midst as seen in Jesus?”

There was no sperm, archjackass, so no that’s not what Christmas is all about. And the power of love in our midst (I cringe just typing that drivel – luuuuvvv) – you mean the love that brought scorn and ridicule on a young teenage girl?  That put the holy family on the run, and a whole bunch of boy babies in Bethlehem killed? Please!! And it’s not about the cultural cute and cuddly baby Jesus (there goes Ricky Bobby in my head again: tiny baby Jesus) that just inspires us so much we get all misty on Christmas Eve and then back to business as usual by the next Tuesday.

As I understand it, the virgin conception is about God doing what no man could (saving us from our sinful selves) in a way that no man could (without male participation); Jesus becoming completely human without human help. I know, Mary had something to do with it, but in those days women were considered just passive receptacles for the active working agent of male semen. The point being this was an accomplishment of God not man. A foretaste of what would be accomplished on the cross.

What Christmas is all about is the cross. For the Divine One to become an infant so helpless he has to have his diapers changed is the beginning of Jesus’ Via Dolorosa. No cross, no reason for Christmas (except for Hallmark). It was that bloody, disgusting. tortured death and inconceivable (pun intended) resurrection that was the point of Christmas. Not provocative posters.

This kind of stuff just makes me want to scream “Bah, humbug!!”

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