Herod tried to kill the baby. Not the Christmas baby.. he would have welcomed this western child. No, the boy Herod wanted to kill was a king.
The baby he would have wanted around was our western baby, colonized by the myth of Christmas, jingle bells, ho-ho-ho, and all night shopping. “Joy to the Mall” will always be blessed by the powers that be.
Lights, bright ribbons, hot chocolate, Starbucks and Wal-Mart.. come on. Who is threatened by this stuff? It’s good for the state. The Santa myth won over the Christmas baby with hardly a struggle. There is no death there.. no rumor of angels.. no harsh travel on dangerous roads, and no swat teams. The Santa myth is all about consumption, addiction, good times for all, and a growing economy. What government in their right mind would want to oppose it?
But the other story.. the one about the baby king and a future kingdom, a kingdom of peace and justice.. that story is dangerous.
Better to find a way to merge the two stories, so that the one receeds into history while the other is oh so present, offering promise today of happiness, plenty, and comfort. We turned the Jesus story into flannel graphs and plastic nativity scenes and canned music because the wildness of the real story was subversive. And anyway, how can you market soldiers and Rachel weeping for her children? How can you market “the rise and fall of many in Israel” and “scattering the proud” and “filling the hungry with good things” while the rich are sent empty away?
Hmm.. well, you could market it to the hungry and the poor. You could market it to the humble and those who have nothing to lose. And that’s where the Gospel really grew and took root. Big surprise.
He then points us to a piece that he wrote a few years back...
I tried to turn some of these.. admittedly uncomfortable.. thoughts into a story last year, and it is found HERE.