Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas (I think)

Can't say where this came from, but I've been walking through this whole Christmas season with a bit of an edge. People have heard me say cranky little quips, and even the occasional mini-rant. In part, it's the consumerism of the season that a lot of people are cautious of. There are good efforts out there already to combat that mentality, and to make something better. For the most part, though, I've had a more theological sort of thing going.

I'm more concerned about the gross imbalance that exists between the time, money, effort, and overall attention that Christians and churches give to Christmas vs. Resurrection Sunday. Hear me now - I'm a grateful believer in celebrating the Incarnation, and the amazing story that it is. I do think it's good and right for us to make a big deal of that.

But let me ask this question - How many Christians do you know that redecorate their whole house to celebrate the Resurrection? Not talking about Easter bunnies here, either. I'm talking about clearing the coffee table so we can set up a little ceramic scene of a big rock mountain with a cave cut out of it, and a stone that's been rolled away from the entrance. You've got your ceramic angels hanging out at the tomb, ceramic Mary looking confused while talking to that strange ceramic gardener dude, ceramic Peter and ceramic John sucking air from having just finished their foot race. Everyone except for the angels, and the aforementioned gardener have that expression of "Wha??" on their faces. O.k., so I got a little out of control there . . . all that might be a little creepy.

How many Christians do you know that use even 20% of the money they'd spend at Christmas to give it away to Christian missionaries or causes?

Almost all churches make a big deal about their Good Friday/Easter Sunday services. Celebrative gatherings, sunrise services, special musical presentations. Many new church plants hold their public "launches" on Easter (a thing I've got a whole different set of misgivings about). I don't want to be completely unfair here - there is special emphasis on the Resurrection. I'm just wondering if it's equivalent to Christmas.

All of this, when in two of our four gospels, the narrative of the birth of Jesus isn't even mentioned! Do I need to bother asking the counter-question of how many gospels have the Passion narrative?

With all that said, let me rescue myself from this scrooge-y corner I'm in. I DO LIKE CHRISTMAS. Michelle and I will be traveling great distances to be with family and friends for celebrations. I LIKE GIVING GIFTS TO PEOPLE, and think that Christmas represents a beautiful time for us to honor those that God has placed in our lives. I DO LIKE SOME CHRISTMAS MUSIC - this is good stuff (but this and this make me want to hurt people). I LIKE CHRISTMAS COOKIES. Oh, and I LIKE SEEING LITTLE CHILDREN GET GIDDY ON CHRISTMAS MORNING. I've got no beefs with Santa - he's always been better to me than I've been to him. In the interest of full disclosure, let me also say that I LIKE RECEIVING GIFTS - especially those that show that someone really thought about me and wanted to express their love.

My main thing here is to put things in perspective. Thank you God for the Incarnation. Indeed. But thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus for inaugurating an everlasting Kingdom by your words, your deeds, your sacrifice, and your Resurrection!

With all that said, let me wish all of my readers out there (I could name the four of you, but I wouldn't want to embarrass you) a great Christmas. I do hope this holiday season is a wonderful celebration. Just remember, when you open your Bible to Luke 2, feel free to follow it up with some time in Luke 24.


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posted by Steve at 6:20 AM
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Anonymous Sister Teresa commented at 9:58 AM~  

Did I mention that I sent your parents to Manheim Steamroller for your father's birthday? They went last week and LOVED it. Clearly it was not genetically passed on. Just thought it was funny. Loved this post too! Thanks for the reality check in the midst of this last week of Christmas choas before we move back into the regular amount of Circus chaos. Love you like a brother...literally! :)
Sister Teresa

Anonymous jeremy commented at 4:50 PM~  

Dude, if that snowman I put up in our shared yard ends up with it's head on the ground, I'll know what happened.

Blogger Steve commented at 10:20 PM~  

T - you will soon find out what I bought our father for his birthday present, and you might just think it's evil. At least then we'll be even!

J - Ha! No worries about the snowman. Michelle told me that he gave you a good fight, so you earned your right to represent. He shall remain unharmed . . . at least by me. I'll be looking for your Resurrection light display come March, though!

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spirit farmer data

I'm Steve Lewis. This used to be my blogging home. My online home is now at When this blog was my active online home, I lived in Seattle. Now I live in London, UK. I follow Jesus (poorly most of the time), worship simply, read a lot, watch culture, go to school, listen to music, write, enjoy art, and drink a lot of coffee.
e-mail me:

seattle spots

victrola coffee
zoka coffee
university of washington
church of the apostles
quest church
sanctuary church
shoreline vineyard

sites i visit

off the map
nt wright

a few of the blogs in the feedreader

jason evans
joe boyd
kevin rains
alan creech
chris marshall
bill bean
eugene cho
jordon cooper
dwight friesen
john chandler
amy palmer
ryan bolger
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generation me
jesus and the restoration of israel
god's continent
globalizing theology
gustavo gutierrez: essential writings
jesus and the eyewitnesses
garlands of grace
twenty poems to nourish your soul
the black swan
dancing in the streets
made to stick
signs in contemporary culture
hit the bullseye
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readings in christian ethics
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the kite runner
principles of conduct
velvet elvis
the irresistable revolution
they like jesus, but not the church
the great omission
charisma: the gift of grace, and how it has been taken from us
the starfish and the spider
a perfect mess
the world cafe
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leaving church
journeying in faith
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foolishness to the greeks
personal knowledge

states i've spent time: 2007

british columbia
oh yeah, denmark, too

i wrote it

managing conflict in the 'new world'
music review: over the rhine
film review: bonhoeffer
music review: fighting jacks
film review: the passion of the christ
how reality tv changes lives
the best tv article you've ever read
corks & caps: a wine lover's story of change
america's idols
random, disorganized thoughts about life after the katrina disaster
missional . . . plain and simple
on becoming post-gnostic

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