What are those things upon which we wage war? There are those completely virtuous and entirely untainted causes that are birthed at those seminal moments when the very foundation of the whole of our existence is suddenly teetering on some precarious precipice. Indeed, in every generation there are those utterly horrifying moments when the foolishly benign and ridiculously petty issues that have so captivated us fall into immediate irrelevance as we now face a foe that threatens to obliterate our existence as we know it. Even though we have ignorantly toyed with morality and recklessly crafted our own ethics as if we were ourselves gods, there come those moments when all of those anemic constructs instantly collapse in the face of the threat that now stands before us, and in the ensuing tumult and subsequent panic we are of necessity thrust back to that which is authentically true and good. In light of pending doom we now embrace these things, both fighting with them and for them.
It is at these junctures in history that we are melded together with others in the infinitely greater crusade of saving all that we hold dear. However, the foe falls, the battle eventually ends, and the high calling of the crusade fades. In time, with the threat having passed into the annuals of our foggy memory we once again ignorantly toy with morality and recklessly craft our own ethics. And soon we are fighting petty battles that infuse us with a passionate fervor of some sort, yet we confuse passion with principles, greed with gallantry, and Godly values for our lame constructs.
The Real Nature of Our Battles
More often than not the battles that we fight are based on self-aligned agendas and selfish motives. The nobler cause is often ourselves, although we have become quite adept at articulating such causes as purposed for the betterment of mankind and hailing them as bold advances when the weaker among us are too fearful for such advances.
Or we get caught up in glitzy fads, or cultural trends, or politically-correct agendas that drive us because we fear ridicule, or we’re adverse to alienation, or we simply don’t want to expend the energy it takes to exercise a bit of mental acumen. It may be that we’re too insecure to believe in our ability to reckon things correctly, or we’re far too inadequate to hold up when challenged. Whatever the case, many of our battles are spurious at best and spawned of the herd mentality at worst.
The War on Great Things
It seems that great things call us to great things. The lofty ideals and robust principles of great things call us up and out to them when they engage us. It is indeed odd that we have an unrelenting and breathless passion for great things until those things call us to greatness. We have yet to understand that great things are simply not to be observed from some safe emotional distance. They are not be viewed through the thick plexiglas of fear gone mad and passion gone to rot that puts adventure as an item on safe display. Rather, great things demand that they engage us and we engage them.
The issue in the engagement is that great things will move us in great ways. Simply put, that is their inherent nature. By virtue of their very essence and character, great things move other things to great things simply in their engagement. However, that means change. And that means change that we have not formulated, or orchestrated, or likely even contemplated in our wildest musings. That means that change will lie uncomfortably outside the scope of our vision, it will move leagues beyond our tediously crafted parameters, and it will deliberately remove from us whatever will prevent us from moving in the first place. In order words, greatness is incredible but greatness is radical.
Our solution to this fearful conundrum is to shape great things with an eye towards keeping everything fully safe. We purport to want a hearty adventure and we say that we yearn for a journey of the boldest sort. Indeed, we claim that we are cavalier and of the journeying sort. Yet, we rein these journeys in, we cinch them tight, we tame them comatose, and in the process we kill the very adventure that we allege to be on. We want greatness alright, but we want a greatness of our own design. And we have yet to understand that a ‘greatness’ of our own design will never cross the barest periphery of true greatness.
The War on Christmas
The nature of Christmas is such that it calls us to magnificently great things. Christmas is the greatest, most perfectly complete rescue mission of all time in any time. It is an act of the purest liberation, smashing anything and everything that would dare attempt to shackle us. Christmas will blow out the walls of any prison, it will level the most arduous mountain, it will construct a sure path through the landscape of the impossible, and it claims a place for us in the endless adventure called eternity. The gift of God’s Son to us is a call to radical liberation and an ensuing greatness unparalleled in the entirety of existence.
Yes, without reservation Christmas is that bold, that magnificent and that wonderful. And because it is, we cherish it but we often walk in dread fear of it. We want greatness, but we prefer it tamed and on a leash short enough for us to control it, yet long enough to allow it to retain some remote yet diminished flavor of greatness. We want to feel the tug of Christmas and find ourselves elated by the wonder and captivated by the mystery of whatever wonderful destination it might be prompting us toward. Yet, we want to have the leash firmly in hand should the destination that God is calling us to prove too obscure or too frightening or just too much. We want the parts of Christmas that send exciting shivers up our spines, but we don’t want the parts that prick our fears.
And so we tame greatness, which is in reality to kill it outright. We attempt to hold the rich essence intact while we disembowel everything else around it. And so to tame Christmas we spin myths to temper the story, we create our own caricatures to speak our own lines into the script, we gift ourselves to enhance an adventure now lagging, and we think we’re on a grand adventure when we’ve completely forgotten what an adventure is.
Christmas is God’s invitation to an adventure of the greatest sort. There is no possible means by which we could hope to replicate such an adventure and to tamper with it is to destroy it wholesale. The war on Christmas is in reality a war on a great calling and the rancid deconstruction of a promise of adventure unparalleled. The war on Christmas is waged of weakness and fed by vision blinded. It is a war of intellect blunted to stupidity and calling begging at the feet of cowardice. The war on Christmas holds no victory for the victor, for the cost of victory is the death of the one who has won. And such a victory is tragic beyond words to describe.
The War of Reclamation
We would wise to wage an entirely different kind of war. We need to draw the battle lines, raise the standard, and fight the war to reclaim Christmas. Christmas is God redeeming mankind from mankind’s notoriously failed efforts to redeem himself. It is the single, sure path to salvation, and it is the promise for an eternity that extends beyond our famished imagination. It is God declaring that not all is lost, that everything can be redeemed, and that hope will never be crushed under the heel of adversity. Christmas is an adventure that we could never comprehend, much less craft. And we are freely granted this greatest of all adventures by the simple act of simply accepting it.
This war of reclamation begins with us. The battle lies within our hearts and its battlefields stretch across the landscape of our souls. It is here that we need to lay renewed claim to Christmas, do a radical internal reorientation where we rigorously purge ourselves of anything that would diminish this great gift, and then disseminate that battle to those around us. Let’s fight this most magnificent war for Christmas. Let’s partner with God, suit up and reclaim this most incredible holiday. And let’s do that by starting with us.
Here’s wishing you a robust passion for the battle, and the fullness of God’s gift this season and every season.
This Week's Quote:
“Christmas is God deciding to become what He never had been, so that we can become what we never could be. And so, God does the most improbable thing imaginable. He orchestrates His own birth."
- Craig D. Lounsbrough