Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Reclaimng the expression "Do Christmas" this year

Our household has been talking a bit about the common question, "When are you going to 'do Christmas' this year?" This expression can be translated, "When are you going to 'open presents and eat a bunch of food with your family' this year?"

Hmm...is that what Christmas is about? Now, most folks know that Christmas is really a shortened form of Christ's Mass--the celebration of the Christ child. That's good, but I'd like to create a new definition to the expression "do Christmas."

My new definition of "do Christmas" is this: Incarnational, self-sacrifice, where we love neighbor and die for our enemy.

Each phrase in this definition is a more helpful way to respond appropriately to the Christ-child. For example,

"Incarnational" relates to the fact that the Holy and Infinite God took on human flesh (John 1:14) so that He might share life with humanity. Thus, we have a call to go to people who are seemingly different. We enter into the lives of the rich if we are poor and the poor if we are rich. We go to those who feel alone, broken, and different. We come and enter into their lives.

"Self-sacrifice" relates to the fact that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give his life away as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Likewise, Christians must live lives of self-sacrifice and service in the worlds we live in (see Mark 10:41-44 and Philippians 2:3-11).

"Love neighbor" is the second greatest command in Scripture (Matthew 22:37ff.). To be like Christ is to love like Christ--to love those in need, closest to us (regardless of their ethnicity, social class, or moral status).

"Die for our enemy" is the epitome of Christ's work on the cross of human sinners. While we were still sinners in enmity with God, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). To do Christmas aright requires us to willingly lay down our lives for those who consciously or unconsciously oppose us.

So, when are you doing Christmas this year? When are you going to live a life of incarnational, self-sacrifice where you love neighbor and die for your enemy?

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