Santa vs. Jesus
Santa < Jesus
Why is it always a battle or competition?
This is a question Christians need to ponder. Because we think we know why and we go full throttle after an end, that maybe Jesus wouldn't. Somewhere in our history and most likely form reading and pondering scripture, we decided that if Christianity is going to be pure then it must be extracted from the culture. And some even thought in their day that if Christianity could change and lead the culture to a progressively better world, then we could actually usher in Jesus a 2nd time and end this merry-go-round of life.
I believe there is evidence that in order to live like the Messiah we should be careful about our actions. However, I'm not sure that equals our surroundings. I don't think that Jesus came into the world as a baby and taught as a young man and died on a cross and rise again only for us to isolate ourselves from every hint of evil in the world. When we do, we end up working on the ideal that Christians should create their own utopia and wait for the world's end so that they can claim heaven due to their exactness of the law and perfect motivation towards the right actions.
Why this heeds some proverbs, tries to undo the good examples of bad examples in scripture and follows strict rules given by an apostle to specific people within a specific issues in specific contexts, it lacks the true heart of Paul and Jesus for that matter. Jesus didn't come for the utopians. He came for the lost (which we all resemble). Jesus didn't isolate himself from evil, sinners, or even a wild party. No, in fact, he entered it and through his mere presence changed that party's or those peoples' purposes. He entered into the culture, not to change it, but rather to be a part of the people that he came to save in the first place.
We get upset about Santa over Christ in Christmas. We get upset when Christmas is changed to Happy Holidays. We try to protect our hearts from thinking too much about presents to think about presence. None of these are necessarily bad intentions. But really they miss the point of Jesus coming into the world. We will spend an entire advent season begging people to understand the theology of anticipation, hope, joy, love, and peace and yet then we turn around and scold the world for their hearts toward Santa, presents, consumerism, and forgetting the Christ child. Every situation needs has its own context and requires its own response. However, overall Christ would have sat in the living room of folks with presents piled high, exceedingly absurd credit card debt, and gluttonous dinners. He would have opened presents with them, ate with them, and laughed with them. In the end they would have been changed, not because he made just the right statements or landed his theological ideals on the right plane, but because he was there and cared for them no matter what they were like.
Once Christians realize that LOVE is better than being right, we might just start seeing change in the our world. Because when we don't we set ourselves up as the opposition. Every time we make what we don't believe the other side of the argument we have set someone up to be the opposition and if given that role, people will play it. Don't give them an either/or Jesus. Give them a both/and, I-love-you-no-matter-what Jesus! And watch them come to Him!