The church can be selfish.
Don’t get me wrong, so can I.
Don’t be deceived, so can you.
And unfortunately, Christmas brings out the greed in all of us. Which is odd. Because the first Christmas was anything but that. The first Christmas was an example of ultimate humility.
The example for us was of One who left Paradise and splendor and identified with the poor and sick.
The example for us was a Christ who came and lived in order to sacrifice and save.
The example for us was a Lord who loves and not One who loves to Lord.
The example for us was a friend to sinners, a lover of the condemned and a healer of hurting hearts.
We have taken His example and turned it upside down. We have become selfish and not sacrificial. We look to lord over rather than seek to serve. We take the hurting hearts and condemn them with our words, our ignorance, our apathy and our sideways glances.
We are selfish.
In many ways. But today, I’m not talking about the way we stuff our stomachs and stockings with treats we feel we deserve.
Nor am I speaking to our obsession with accumulation and comfort.
Rather, today I’m talking about our rabid campaign to “Put Christ back in Christmas!” We think it’s a matter of semantics. We wear buttons and bumper stickers and insist people tell us “Merry CHRISTmas”. We look down our up-turned noses when people say something heinous like “Happy Holidays”. We stomp our foot and scream, “SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS DAMN IT!” And the needy continue to need while we toss our proud glance in the air and insist we are greeted in a way that becomes us.
What if instead, we smiled and said “Thank you”. What if instead we listened. What if we asked others to tell us about their life and their journey and we really listened. What if we greeted others in a way that honored them, and we cared less about honoring ourselves.
What if this Christmas we followed the example set for us thousands of years ago when a trusting young woman and a loving young man brought Christ into the world.
What if we thought less about the presence of “Christ” in “Christ”mas and more about the presence of Christ in us.