It's that time of year.. Where the weather outside is frightening.. A time of snowmen, and warm wooly santa outfits, where Jack Frost will nip at your nose.. If you're not careful. It's Christmas.
This wintery picture of Christmas is strikingly familiar even here in Australia.. Where the weather outside is not frightening.. In fact, it's hot and sunny.. No place to be outdoors for snowmen, Jack Frost or an overdressed jolly old chap.. Where Rudolph's red nose could only be the result of some serious sun exposure (afterall, reindeers don't have the dexterity to apply sunscreen).
Traditions have a way of crossing- sometimes glaringly- over cultural, economic, geographical and generational boundaries. It's not like we don't realise that it is actually summer here, and that those wintery traditions didn't originate here.. It's that we don't care. We smile, even have a laugh at ourselves.. but we don't go out and tear down the snowmen, and delete the winter songs from our iTunes.. And why? Because they have snuck into our own Christmas traditions and we have grown fond of them.. and I think that's ok.
Christmas is an unapologetically Christian event.. At least in origin. You don't need to be a theologian or historian to work that one out. It's even clearly visible just in the name.. and I think that's ok.
For many, Christmas is the one time of the year, where despite our regular thoughts or experiences of church and religion, we rightly smile and embrace- if even for just a day or two, the oldest Christmas tradition of all. It's not that we don't realise that the songs, the stories and the suggested meaning of Christmas are all pointing to the same end.. but just for a few days.. we don't mind..
There's really nothing that offensive about the message of Christmas. Really.. there's not. Despite how we have viewed God or being taught to view ourselves, the message of Christmas is simple, and it is as reassuring as it is revolutionary..
God, in the greatest act of love ever depicted, saw us as we were (as we truly were) – Broken, sinful people, but full of worth and value.. and He responded; and not as we might have expected. He didn't distance Himself from us, but rather got as close as humanly possible.. Jesus.
This Christmas, I don't think God is feeling any different about us.. about You. I think He loves people. I think He loves us.. and I reckon as we open ourselves up to that, even just the slightest bit this Christmas, He is waiting to prove it.
May you find hope, love and peace this Christmas.