It’s proverbial that familiarity breeds contempt. Our contempt starts with that statement itself; it’s contemptible to hear about how easily we’re made contemptuous. But our condition is one in which we get dirty and forget about it, we develop callouses and live with them, we fall down and it’s easier to stay there. We need to be washed, we need to have the hard parts cut off or filed down, and we need to get back on our feet.
So…we’re familiar with Christmas. Jesus is the reason for this season…we know…so how does He fit in our familiar celebrations? It’s hopefully more, though not less, than reading the story of His birth on Christmas morning (this year we’ll assemble as a church for worship on Christmas Sunday). For sake of scrubbing our holiday grime, let’s start with our Christmas trees. Why? What for?
For the first time in eleven advents, we had a choice for ourselves in the church’s building. Hey, we’re not Gnostics. We went for it.
And consider our pine tree configurations at home. We stand our trees in a location for maximum visibility. We place our presents under the tree for others. We hang lights and garland and other ornaments on the branches. We typically perch a star at the top most point. Which part is for Jesus? Which part is meant to honor Him?
Isn’t He pictured and honored every where? He is the focal point; our eyes are drawn to Him. He is the Father’s gift to sinful men. He is the light of the world, the Creator who decorated the universe. Not only did a star mark His birthplace for travelers, He Himself is the morning star. We can’t limit where we honor Him. He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, worthy to be honored from top to bottom. He ought to be so in our Christmas celebrations.
We cannot be overly familiar with Christ, only wrongly familiar in a way that doesn’t honor Him everywhere at all times. I also plan to start an advent season sermon series next Sunday. A reminder that the Word became flesh, full of grace and truth, and has made the Father known, even as we celebrate His Supper.