Thursday, December 03, 2009

X-ian during X-mas

In listening to a message by Stanley Hauerwas the other day, he used a similar phrase over and over again. He was emphasizing the call of Christians and the Church to stand out...to live differently....to exist in ways that obviously contrast the way of the world toward the direction of Christ.

He mentioned several ways this can be done. Obviously, since the talk was not only from Hauerwas, but about Bonhoeffer & Yoder; Pacifism & non-violence were discussed. I have to say I find my being nodding in agreement with much of what was said in that regard. And not to be pigeon-holed in a "I'm against war" mindset, but in every area of life...to sacrifice ones assumed "rights" and show love, forgiveness and grace to the other, even when that means suffering. Not something I'm inherently good at, but something I'm working on.

But this concept of being a "light in the darkness", or a "city on a hill" really become quite difficult during the Christmas season. We have displays that involve angels and stars - so does Wal-mart. We have productions and songs that involve a baby Jesus - so do half of the televised Primetime Specials. We remind people to be of good cheer, filled with hope, and emphasize good will above selfishness and materialism - so does, ironically, much of Christmas advertising.

And before the "War on Christmas" people get started, I don't believe the "light in the darkness" comes in the form of forcing stores into plastering the word "Christ" in all of their commercialism. That may actually be simply making noise in the darkness.

Nevertheless, God has called us and has given His Spirit to enable us to LIVE DIFFERENTLY during every season of our lives, including Christmas. What will that look like in your family?

What patterns have your celebrations taken that are rooted in the world? What new patterns could you begin with your family this year that are grounded in Christ and His Kingdom? Where are you crossing the line between "feel good Christmas-ish actions" and "sacrificial, making no sense except to Jesus-ish actions"?

I write this to myself as well...gonna have to be praying on this.

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