06 December 2015

it can only be beheld.

Every pound that gets sent from our Florida address to Cap-Haitien costs us $1.60/pound for shipping, plus whatever douane fees charged to us that day.

That means that it only took us about our first two weeks in Haiti to cancel all our magazine subscriptions and mailings.  Even mailings I used to love didn't seem worth the extra money.  But a few months ago a "Christianity Today" issue was in our stack, and there were a few articles in there just TOO good to quit.

While all five of us are congested and coughing, this morning Nora and I woke up pretty miserable.  Matt and the girls went to church with the Heckmans and Pam and our four visitors, and Nora and I went back to bed for a while.  While Nora slept, I spent more time in Isaiah (man, if you're looking for someplace to read...Go there, get through the 20-some chapters of judgment and then relish what follows!) and then I flipped through a new issue of CT, and was drawn by a short article entitled "The Poverty of Christmas."

Living in the midst of such poverty, I'm always interested in a new perspective.  But Haiti's kind of poverty isn't what this one was about.

Instead, it was just about the warning to be careful I attempted to share this week...but far better.

We don't believe in Christmas anymore.

We believe in Christmas gatherings, Christmas shopping, Christmas recitals, of course, and even Christmas outreach events and Christmas acts of charity...

Christmas is the biggest celebration on the calendar.  But we know not what we celebrate.

In an effort to capture their neighbors' flitting attention, churches have perfected their Christmastime marketing game.  It's no longer the Christmas sermon; it's four weeks of "Unwrapping Christmas" or "An Upside-Down Christmas" with children's programs and four weekend services...

It's like we don't trust the Incarnation to sell itself.

And maybe that's our problem.  The trick about the Incarnation -- God becoming man --is that it can't be sold, schedulesd, or enjoyed the way a glass of eggnog or a new gadget can.  It refuses to bend to the rules of the market.  It can only be beheld.

The passage in Luke returns us to the humility and poverty of the Christmas story.  God doesn't enter our world donating bells and whistles.  He doesn't hope to "attract" more people with his "message".  Instead, he waits for our eyes to adjust to the dim light emanating from the manger, to come, to see, to behold--and to truly celebrate.

This is very good news for church leaders, who experience great pressure at Christmas to increase attendance and giving.  It means they need not think up a "big idea" to add to the Incarnation, but rather communicate--as clearly and as plainly as possible--the big idea that IS the Incarnation.

The Christmas story...is everything we need to hear in order to flourish in our dark and violent world.  It is the great rescue plan of God, initiated before time itself to save sinners from death.  It is salvation.

come and behold.

You can read the whole article here.


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  2. Great blog Stacey...made me thing. We as individuals and as "the church" do lose sight of the simple story. All we need is his word.