How would you react if you read in this e-mail that on Sunday, to recreate a more realistic understanding of the first Christmas, that we would be having several barnyard animals in the church during the worship service? In all probability, you might very well consider not attending. It wouldn’t be due to bad motives, but who wants to go to church and put up with cows, sheep, goats, etc. with the noises and smells they make? We like things clean, pleasant and quick. Interestingly, when God came to this earth nothing about his entrance was remotely like that.
Now don’t worry! The only animals in church this Sunday will be the ceramic figures which make up the Nativity scenes decorating our sanctuary. But the point about the messiness of Christmas is something we should more seriously consider. There was nothing sentimental about Christ’s birth. Rather, a more descriptive word would be “shocking”. God himself becomes a human being in the most humiliating circumstances and from a human point of view, things don’t get much better throughout the years of his time on this earth – which all points to the seriousness of this season. The purpose of his coming was not to produce a warm and fuzzy feeling. If that had been the case, God would have rained egg nog on us. No, humanity needed the surgical procedure of being freed from the power of sin and death. And this surgery could only be done by the Son of God himself through his death and resurrection.
If we do not understand the reason for Christ’s coming, there is no reason for any type of sentimental joy during this time of the year. For then we are left with only the crushing prospect of facing death in the cold winter of our lives. The joy of Christmas is in its messiness. Join us this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) for a much needed serving of that Christmas joy.