Thursday, December 24, 2009
Musings and Meditations at Christmas
The great shame and the great sin of the world is not complicated. It is simply and only and always-- undervaluing Jesus. This takes on a multitude of forms from blatant rebellion and cosmic anarchy on one end of the continuum, to sentimentalizing Christ and making him a safe, warm, and fuzzy buddy that you can take or leave. Sin violates who Jesus is. It is seeking sustinence and pleasure in his gifts rather than enjoying the one who gave them. In enjoying his gifts, even then we must enjoy them in the way that they were intended to be enjoyed. So whether the sin is calling God a liar in not believing his Word, or in substituting the pursuit of ease comfort and pleasure for pursuing him, or in devastating your family and body with runaway desires, in the end it boils down to this truth. To value Jesus- who is of the ultimate worth in the universe, less than he is due is worthy of death.
The world offers many competitors and substitutes that vie for our attentions,loyalties, and energies. While Jesus needs not be defended from Santa, it needs to be said that it is our very reason for living to worship and adore him. We have tremendous freedom and opportunity to find his light in all it's various facets- his poikilos grace, as it is in the Greek. Because he is full of grace and forgiveness, mercy and compassion for he understands our sufferings and desires better than we do ourselves.
He can understand our hearts because he created them. Jesus was unique because he is God. He is God-nature and Man-nature all wrapped up in an explosive and incomprehensible package of love. Jesus was unique as a human in that he never sinned and he rose from a stone cold death with power. The bible says in various places that God raised him, that the Spirit raised him, and that he raised himself. It’s paradoxical, but Christians believe this is reality, and stake their lives on it, not because of some leap of faith, but because of the character and nature of the One who told us this is true. His resurrection defines reality.
This undervaluing of Jesus- anything that deprives him of the glory and honor that is due him as the incarnate logos, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is something every individual on earth is accountable for. He defines glory and honor; the world devalues and perverts it.
He is the only one who can purify all the things we pervert, and make no mistake, we are all experts at that, every one of us frail children of dust. Only in Christ can we trust, for he will not fail. As the fulfillment of the law, and the perfect image of God in whose image we are made, he defines Sin. He is the only one who has the authority to forgive sin. Therefore since failure to acknowledge the Truth of his Worth is at the root of all sin, he is the only solution to the sin problem. No religion can make that claim. Only in this person- the most high God in a body, the child who was born in a cattle stall in a dark and weary world, can we find reconciliation with God, and our very salvation. This determines whether you go to heaven: not who you are, or what you’ve done, but whether your desire to be with Jesus in all of his worth drives your life. If you don’t have much use for him in this world, what makes you think you can worship him in heaven?
Jesus is more than the reason for the season. He is the reason for the universe- let's worship him in Spirit and Truth every moment of every day. that makes all the difference- it will lead us to a life of humilty and gratitude, loving others because we are loved, for we are never more like Jesus that we are when we are giving of ourselves.