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Are you disturbed? : Advent Reflections Day 15 (third Sunday)

Matthew 2:1-12

Today at Revolution, David taught on the Magi. In the discussion time, someone mentioned that Harod (and all of Jerusalem I noticed I think for the first time ever) being “disturbed” (or “troubled”) really stuck out at him. He asked the question - does the birth of Christ disturb us?

I thought that was a really great question and it’s really what I feel much of Advent really is - to put us in a position of reflecting and meditating deeply enough to be disturbed, or shocked out of our typical materialistic American complacency. He also mentioned that he would rather keep the sacred elements of Christmas out of the public sphere. This is such an issue in our area. Colorado is still a very “Christian” state but the “other spirituality” voices are growing and the issue of holiday displays is hotly debated every year.

I think that when we parade Christ around town like a decoration, it removes the awe, the wonder, the “disturbance” of his birth. It commercializes it and by making it an “in your face” issue of “free speech” and turning it into a separation of church and state argument, it sullies the whole experience.

I think we’d be better off using our time to pray and reflect and allow ourselves to be disturbed.

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  1. Jemila — December 17, 2007 #

    I hear you. What a wonderful ( disturbing) question! I am always annoyed, sometimes outraged when Christians spend time, energy and money on their “right” to display images (idols?) of Christianity in the public sphere. As you said, it sullies the whole humble, awe-inspiring entering-into of God into a baby — into our lives — and our entering into this baby, this God who is so humble and life-alteringly beautiful.

  2. Mak — December 17, 2007 #

    well said Jemila

  3. Tia Lynn — December 17, 2007 #

    I could not agree more with this post. Have you heard that the American Family Association is boycotting Old navy because they say happy holidays instead of merry christmas. No wonder people view christians as sniveling, self-righteous whiners. We have to economically blackmail secular businesses to say a phrase to validate our faith. It’s just insane.

  4. Mak — December 17, 2007 #

    well said Tia. I got into a “pseudo argument” about this with my parents over thanksgiving and wasn’t really able to fully articulate why the position that I grew up with didn’t sit right with me anymore … and then my friend said this on Sunday and I was like “yes, bingo! that’s it!” (amongst other things like human decency and respect hehe)

  5. Paul — December 18, 2007 #

    If you want a retelling of the nativity that inspires and stirs I recomend this one that the BBC showed…

  6. Steve Mac — December 18, 2007 #

    good stuff. It seems that, as always, Jesus can be hijacked by all sorts of competing interests. Jill and I have often commented that we should just let Christmas go - let it go back to its pagan roots - and just chill out in the knowledge that God has come to us, and is coming to us on a daily basis, in the person of the Holy Spirit. (though my six year old may have something to say about that!!)

  7. michael — December 31, 2007 #

    I hear what you are saying Makeesha. Personally, I celebrate xmas not so much as holy Christian holiday but as an enjoyable cultural event to have more opportunity ot express love and gratitude to others. I also just like the traditions, and even the silly sledding sings and the like. I suppose that is, in part, because I understand that Christmas is a symbolic day to recognize the magnificence of the incarnation but not as the real day of course. Rather, that was more likely the fulfilment of the Feast of Tabernacles–in that God came to ‘tabernacle’ with us. He took on human flesh, living in the tent of a human body.

    However, with that said, I think the bigger issue here, is not so much Christians pushing their symbols of faith but having the right to express one’s faith (especially if they choose to do it in their front yard). And, after all, more than 95% of people, secular or believers are going to celebrate Christmas in one form or another. It shouldn’t be so shocking then to have a star of some other aspect of the “Christ”mas story. We are not, after all, wanting to have a wholly non religious State, as one might expect in a communist country and such. It doesn’t have to be overt but outright banning it seems dubious at best too.

    Personally, if it wasn’t for my kids, I doubt I’d even have any xmas decorations in my home but maybe some white lights. I like to keep such displays in the grandeur and glory of historical cathedrals and the like but that’s just me….

  8. Mak — December 31, 2007 #

    oh I agree that banning would be sort of silly. And I personally would like to see diverse symbols of the season and think it’s reverse discrimination to suggest otherwise. But, for example, the city of Fort Collins can just as easily just have lights and snowflakes and I’d be fine with that - leaving the religious symbols for religious places. I WOULD be opposed to removing ALL decorations from public places - that would be depressing if nothing else.

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