Dec 242013 1 Response

The Lie of Christmas

The Christmas story is called good news. And rightfully so. It was and is amazing news of tremendous hope.

It’s good news to the

outcast and hurting.

sinner and morally repugnant.

adulterer and murder.

imprisoned and infirmed.

oppressed and orphaned.

voiceless and powerless.

A baby was born and with him came the hope of humanity.

Yet the baby didn’t stay a baby. He grew up to become a King, Liberator, and Redeemer. He leveled the scales of justice, put falsehood to death and shined a light on truth.

The Christmas story is wonderful news…for many.

Yet here is the great untold truth about Christmas: it is horrible news for some.

The lie of Christmas is that the story of the season is great news for everyone. While the good news is available to everyone, not everyone receives and responds to the news as they should. When someone fails to be transformed by the Christmas message, the good news of the season becomes tremendously bad news.

The announcement of who Jesus will be, and the growing up of Jesus into that person, is horrible news for many people.

We can see that response in many leaders of the time.

  • Herod sensed it immediately so he gave the decree to kill all the baby boys in hopes of killing Jesus.
  • The Pharisees and Sadducees felt it later as they began to conspire against him.
  • The people felt it even later as they agreed to free Barabbas over him.

What some call good news, others see as bad news.

We can see why. If the announcement is made of a coming king, that’s great news if you don’t like the current king. It’s horrible news if you are the current king.

Ella Is Not the Boss

When my kids were younger, my son had to learn an important lesson—his sister is not in charge. She thought she was and she made a convincing case to him that she was. Time and time again I would hear him crying and when I would ask what was wrong, he would say, “Ella said I can’t do ____.” Whether it was eat pizza or watch his favorite show or play with a toy or breathe, Ella would tell Silas he couldn’t do something and Silas would assume Ella was the boss.

In those moments, Silas and I would always go through the same routine. I would ask, “Silas, who is in charge?” He would always say, “Mommy.” I would agree and ask who else was in charge. Eventually, after listing most grandparents, teachers, and adults he knew, he would finally say, “Daddy.” I would encourage him and say, “That’s right. Daddy is in charge and Daddy said you could _____ (eat pizza, play with the toy, etc) so it doesn’t matter what Ella says.”

This was tremendous news to Silas. The news brought liberation from a ferocious dictator and freedom in service to a benevolent leader. It was great news for Silas.

But it was horrible news for Ella.

She had gone from being the chief ruler of her own imaginary empire to now being a subject to my empire. She had gone from making up the rules to having to submit to the rules made up by another. It was horrible news.

It was for Ella and it is for many of us.

Neither Are We

The Christmas story announces who humanity’s true leader is. For those of us subjected to others, it’s great news. For those of us deceived into thinking we are in charge, it is horrific news.

If Jesus is the King, I am not. If He is the Son of the Most High, then whatever he says is true, right, and just.

For Christmas to be good news, it contains within it some bad news. Specifically two things which Jesus says about us is tremendously bad news:

Jesus says we need saving. The presence of Jesus confirms what the Old Testament has long taught—humanity has been separated from God because of our rebellion. We are sinners. Each of us has been born into sin; our lives are overwhelmed with sin; sin is so around us that we can’t even always tell it apart from goodness. This sin has separated us from God and placed us in need of salvation.

Jesus says we can’t save ourselves. The really bad news is not just that we need saving, but that we can’t save ourselves. This is horrible news. A majority of people live with the concept that we can save ourselves. We believe that we can avoid the fires of hell and scrape into the outskirts of heaven because of our own actions, but the presence of Jesus puts that belief to death.

These two facts along with a host of other teachings from Jesus are very bad news for those who desire to be their own boss, submit to no other king, and live however they wish.

Yet for those who understand their own inability and who recognize their need, the Christmas message is one of good news.

There is a lie we tell at Christmas. Maybe it’s not a complete lie, but it is at least a half truth. We pretend as though the Christmas story is wonderful news for everyone. Yet it is not. It has the potential of being good news to all people, but not all people will receive it as such. For many it is very bad news. While they long for hope, joy, peace, and love, they will not experience it in it’s fullness because they cannot accept it in the only way it can come—through submission to Jesus.

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