December 16, 2005

Put which Christ back into Christmas?

Every Christmas there are those stories about city councils that have decided to rename their Christmas celebrations "Holiday" celebrations or to forgo a creche on city property as it might be offensive to other faiths. And of course, there is the subsequent outrage and demand that we put Christ back into Christmas.

However, Jonathan Bartley in Ekklesia suggests that putting Christ back into Christmas involves far more than demanding a "Christmas" title in place of "Holiday."

The Christmas story is offensive - even scandalous. It has a tough message for us all, and in particular for those in positions of power. If it is time to put Christ back into Christmas, it should not be the Jesus of the Christmas lights. Nor should the one who comes back be the sanitised, meek and mild baby in the manger, devoid of challenge and political implication. Rather, it must be the Christ who, from the time of his birth, frightened the political leaders of his day. It should be the Christ whose incarnation drew attention to the most vulnerable, was an advocate on their behalf, and invited us all to stand alongside them.