ELEGANT BAPTISMS, DIRTY MANGERS, & THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

December 22, 2012 — 4 Comments

Every now and then I run across something that so hilariously or so painfully illustrates a larger problem that I have to share it. Sometimes, it is both hilarious and painful. Give this two minutes of your time, and I guarantee that you will laugh, and you’ll probably watch it again to make sure it wasn’t a joke. Then, somewhere along the way, you’ll be a little bothered by the tragicomedy of it all.

Only in Texas, right? Kind of reminds you of the verse from scripture that says, “Without elegance, it is impossible to please God.” (If you are looking for this in your Bible, you are going to be looking for a really, really long time).

Leslie, from Big, Rich Texas says, “It is appropriate to have a baptism anywhere. You can actually have it in a church…I prefer a beautiful swimming pool. It’s a little bit more controlled and it’s a little bit cleaner.”

Isn’t that how we’d all like our spirituality–a little bit more controlled, and a little bit cleaner?

You know, a clean place like the manger that welcomed the infant Jesus to the world. Or, a little bit more controlled like the cross where Jesus’ battered, bruised, bloody body bid the world goodbye (or at least “see ya later”). No, there was very little elegance in Jesus’ life, but his life was more glorious than the grandest of parties.

This video is a reminder how easily we can veer off course. Sure, few (if any) of us would throw a $10,000 baptism celebration that completely misses the point, but we are not immune to the temptation to embrace the trappings of Christianity without engaging Christ.

This is perhaps rarely more true than at Christmastime. We go to church without seeking Christ. We sing songs about Jesus without being awed by him. We decorate our homes with heart-warming reminders of the Baby Jesus, but we are not heart-broken over our sin that begged for the Savior to come. We throw office parties in Jesus’ name but never mention him to our co-workers. We too play religious games.

This is what makes Christmas so amazing. God came. In a manger. For people like us.

He didn’t hide until we became like him. He left heaven for us.

He didn’t wait for us to clean up the mess. He entered the mess for us.

He didn’t expect us to become righteous. He offered his righteousness for us.

He didn’t hold our brokenness against us. He was broken for us.

He didn’t hope that we would conquer death. He beat death for us.

Immanuel. God with us. God for us. In spite of us, yet also because of us. Jesus in our place.

The Bible says nothing about our need for elegance, but it says a lot about our need for faith: “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).

My prayer for you this Christmas:

May you believe in Jesus. May you rejoice in the God who took on flesh for your sake. May you leap at the thought that the perfect Savior gave his all for imperfect you. May you rest in the reality that he forgives sins–all of them. May you laugh like a child fully accepted and adopted by a forever Father. May you celebrate Christ, our Rescuer and King.

-jdl

4 responses to ELEGANT BAPTISMS, DIRTY MANGERS, & THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

  1. 

    For me, there are no words. I watched this video with a dropped jaw…then I I laughed out loud. Really?

    Jeff, as usual, you had a perfect response. I’m a big fan of your writing. It’s always truthful and engaging. Thanks for doing what you do!

  2. 

    Awesome blog as always Jeff…..and such a poignant reminder during this time of year when we can be swept away by the hustle and bustle, suddenly finding that we are going through the motions, but that our hearts have gone on detour and left Christ somewhere back before the to do lists, to buy lists, to clean lists, baking, traveling, cooking, parties, etc, etc.

    BTW, who knew you were a closet “Big Rich Texas” fan….lol…Best wishes to you, Nan, and the kids! Praying that you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and that the New Year brings many warm smiles, much love, joy, and blessings!

    ~Jamie Munn

    • 

      Jamie, thanks for the note. I still have no idea what “Big, Rich Texas” is, but the link someone forwarded was too awful not to comment on! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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