One cannot fully appreciate Christmas; to do so is to fully appreciate Christ, and that is a work not completed in this life.
All Christmas commentary is therefore incomplete and fractured. But here I will present the aspects my thoughts linger on at the moment, and hope they are of some use to someone—for cheer, comfort, gratitude, reverence, resolve—whatever is needful.
Victory, Power, Superiority
Perhaps for fear of scaring both others and ourselves, I fear we often understate the God-ness of Christ. The babe in the manger was the same Jehovah of the Old Testament that parted the Red Sea, ordered and sealed the conquests of Moses and Joshua, and wiped Sodom and Gomorrah off the planet. He is the Lord of Hosts—that is, of armies. Other notable members of that category include: Genghis Khan, Shaka Zulu, Julius Caesar, and Alexander the Great. Winners. Rulers. Conquerors. Cities trembled, and rightly so. Christ just wins. You and I, losers born, hope that no one sees through our facades to the loser within. But Christ is the real thing, a Winner—with all the confidence, authority, and ruthlessness that implies.
This is a good thing. To us, flawed and foolish weaklings that we are, it is unsettling because we know that we are not of the same stuff; that we are unworthy on our own merits, and we fear what we cannot control, having no leverage. But Winning, and Power, are good things, and they do not cease being so just because they might scare us when we don’t have them. We should seek after them, in their place. The alternatives, after all, are Losing and Helplessness.
Mercy, Invitation, Condescension
The above can create connotations of cold, will-to-power, adversarial situations. And those situations exist, and are real. But one of the great messages from He Who Wins is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Winning means surplus—and surplus means an opportunity for generosity.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Why all this striver-sounding hullaballoo about winning, ruthlessness, and success? To be their master, rather than to be mastered by them. For kindness, peace, love, and joy.
My hope is to keep this sense of Christmas with me all year long—to be grim and stone-faced, that I may be able to be kind and understanding when it is needed, that I can afford it.