a Christmas blessing

The end of another year draws nigh, and we approach the most holy of our days as His children, the Christ Mass.  Praise be to the Gifting God for the blessing of His Great Light in the form of a helpless babe.  Listen, then, and I will tell you a wonder:

How a great King set aside His crown, His sovereign right to rule;
How the mightiest ever among us was celebrated by the lowliest at His birth.
His very people, whom He came to save from death, sought death for Him instead…
for you and I, just assuredly as any soldier of Rome, put those spikes into hands and feet.
He walked among us, as a child, as a man, as a servant, seeking faith He rarely found
even in those He held most dear-
Truly, the world was not worthy of Him.

And so, on a day as black as that winter’s night was bright, they

-we-

took him,

We beat Him, we punished Him for our own sin, and the King of Heaven lay down unto death…

But it could not keep Him.

Indeed, the very grave knew defeat that glorious day, when the Light forever banished Darkness from the souls of men who would seek Him.  The babe that was born this night we celebrate became the greatest of gifts to men…

Hope.

For you see, the beauty of the Christ is that it makes life unfair.  Thanks be to the High King of Heaven, never again need you and I fear being treated fairly for the evil we have done!  Our hope is His Grace, and our just fate is stayed by His Mercy.  And so this day, as you reflect on all that has gone before you, offer thanks to our Blessed Lord for his wondrous bounty.

May the Three of Limitless Love renew the strength of your heart, that your true Hope be found in the Lord of Heaven, far from the wickedness of this world;
May the Three of Perfect Peace bless you richly as you strive ever onward for the Kingdom, and may the rewards of your labor be vast in a place suffering no decay;
May the Three of Boundless Joy bring laughter to your lips, and rejoice with you this day, for your Salvation has come in the form of a babe, Immanuel, God with us!

a Christmas shower

We serve a good God, and he showers us with blessings.  At least, that’s what we’re supposed to say about Him, right?

But really, as I think more about it, the whole thing is getting ridiculous, and I think somebody should talk to Him.

I mean, the whole idea of “Christmas” in the first place is patently absurd – just who does this God think he is?  Who, in the midst of a kingdom-wide rebellion, starts handing out presents?  Maybe a fake gift or two, the kind that blows up on demand.  In a war, that makes sense, a kind of exploding-Trojan-horse-thingy.  But what king in his right mind would send his only son, his heir, to the other side as a gift?  And then, when the rebels (like we couldn’t see this coming) kill the son once they’d had their fun torturing him, the king (who apparently hadn’t learned anything from this whole experience) used their very act of murder to redeem the rebels and declare the war over, bringing the rebels back into the kingdom…

Explain this to me, exactly.  Because if you were pitching this story to me as the pilot for your new TV series, I’d boot you out of my office.  I mean, who’s ever going to buy it?  The whole thing jumps the shark!

And then, to top it off, the King instructs His people (remember, those former rebels) how to spend some the blessings He has given them.  And blessing these people is certainly a huge step in the wrong direction.  A pardon, I suppose, if you really were feeling particularly generous, might – might – be appropriate.  Perhaps for a couple of the more photogenic rebels, maybe some of the cuter children.  But the leaders at least need to die, right?  Publicly?  But no, the King, this “good” God, he takes these people out of slavery, gives them a bunch of cool stuff, and then tells them to party.  Seriously.  Like they mean it.

Read with me:

Deuteronomy 14:22-27 (ESV)

You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.

It’s got to be a textual error.   The manuscripts got copied wrong, or something.  Whatever you desire?  Whatever your appetite craves?  Good meat?  Great wine?  So to worship this God, rebels-turned-citizens are forced (at least He’s forcing them to do something) to spend some of their money on a huge party, and all this is designed to teach them… to fear the Lord always?

Like I said before, someone really needs to talk to Him.  This is getting out of hand.  What’s next?  People actually singing at the top of their lungs in church?  Spontaneous hugging?  Joy that doesn’t come from stuff?  If we’re not careful here, someone’s heart might just grow three sizes in one day.  And you and I both know what that means for the church…

Liability.  An enlarged heart is a serious medical condition.

I’m recommending we call our insurance brokers right now.  Bump up those church policies so we can sleep well tonight.

Oh, and when you talk to Him (you did catch the part where we agreed that you should be the one to talk to Him, right?), make sure you mention the name of a good lawyer.

If He keeps this up, He’s going to need one.

And I suppose it’s in keeping with the season to say “Merry Christmas,” but try to tone it down a little.  The last thing this world needs is a bunch of crazies running around acting like their King.