Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Christmas Wars

Where are the faraway kingdoms of dreams?
They vanished in the mist with Saint Nicholas,
and lie scattered to the ghettos and the war zones.
Why? Why? Why?

I said, "Why? Mama, why?"
Why can't I sleep in peace tonight underneath the satellite sky? ---Mark Heard, Sattelite Sky


At the core of Christmas ever lies the tension between peace and war, self promotion and sacrifice. For while the angels were saying “On earth peace to those on whom his favor rests,” Herod was slaughtering every child under the age of two. At its core the Christmas manger lays in a field of battle.

“Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.”
The Dragon slaughters and roars and makes war with the saints. It doesn’t feel that way though.

We get caught up in a storm of busyness. Presents are purchased, goodies baked, parties made, lights hung up, cards dispatched---and we become short-sighted. It is easy to lose sight of our service and our worship. We cuss out the woman who bumps into us in line at the store then get into our car and turn on the Christmas music. There is a disconnect between our actions and their purpose. We are in danger of losing heart and soul amidst the material.

The soldier learns to eat his MRE in the midst of battle and the ER doctor tells a light-hearted story while stitching up her patient. We sit in stuffed chairs and tell tepid tales of Santa Claus and reindeer as if the heavenly powers war over the identity of Kris Kringle. We give no thought to our own allegiance. We are content to bring our picnic baskets out to the battle and eat our cheese and crackers; “Oh I do hope the good-guys win.”

Good was won the day Christ was born. We live in the intermission. Though we may sing, “Give peace a chance,” the dragon will continue to roar and Herods will persist in persecution. Our call is to make known our allegiance and suffer hardship accordingly. Next time when you are out shopping and someone runs into you, or you hear that screaming child---listen and you may hear the dragon roaring. Do not be afraid for there is news of great joy, “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth pace among men with whom He is pleased.”

No comments: