I guess we ought to be of the same frame of mind as our cousin, King Herod. When he heard the word about the first Christmas, the Gospels say that he was filled with fear. Give Herod credit. He knew bad news when he heard it. He knew that the songs that the angels sang meant an attack upon his world, God taking sides with those on the margins, the people in the night out in the fields, the oppressed and the lowly.(The whole thing here)
But for the people up at the palace, the well fixed, the people on top, the masters of the Empire, Christmas was bad news. And many of them were perceptive enough to know it.
So maybe that is why we cover up Christmas with cheap sentimentally, turn it into a saccharine celebration. Maybe, in our heart of hearts, we know that Christmas means that God may not be with the Empire, but rather the Empire may be on a shaky foundation, and that, if we told the story straight, as the Bible tells it, we might have reason, like Herod (when he heard about the first Christmas) to fear.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Willimon: Christmas in the Empire
Will Willimon has a good reflection on the Christmas story: