Merry Christmas friends. I’m not sure where your mind is at as you’ve been preparing and enjoying Christmas week this year. My head hasn’t really been dwelling on Hallmark plots that make you feel good. I read a tweet a while back and now I find myself thinking about it again as Christmas draws near.
Every discussion of "biblical womanhood" should include the fact that in Luke 1, two pregnant women celebrate their new motherhood by passionately discussing the coming overthrow of every earthly empire.— Kaitlyn Schiess (@KaitlynSchiess) December 14, 2021
I recently preached on part of Luke chapter one and focused primarily on Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. That is a message all about the excitement that God was breaking more than 400 years of silence.
In the passage Kaitlyn is referring to, Mary says that God “has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble.Â He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands” (Luke 1:52-53). It’s not just waiting and expectation, but the sense that God was actively making things right.
I find myself needing this reminder this Christmas.
There is so much discouragement in the world. I’m tired of people thinking Republicans or Democrats are the solutions to our problems. I’m tired of watching the celebration of violence. I’m tired of lines being drawn and parties being formed over our disagreements about a virus. I’m tired of watching racism emerge in new ways with new faces. I’m tired of watching nationalism distort the church in America yet find a warm welcome.
I guess you could say I’m feeling tired of empire.
Christmas is about the incarnation, the idea that God became one of us in the person of Jesus. But the real question is: How much does the incarnation change things?
Does God merely join us in our misery? To choose to suffer under empire along with us? To be sure, that is notable.
But Christmas is more than God joining us in our misery.
Perhaps God comes to join our misery AND offer a critique of the way things have become. Again, it’s reassuring to know God is also bothered by the things that bother us.
But Christmas is more than God offering a critique on the wrong in the world.
Perhaps Christmas is a time for God to join us in our misery, offer a critique of what’s wrong, AND let us know that someday in the future things would be made right.
But Christmas is more than a future promise.
As Kaitlyn pointed out, Christmas is God bringing new life into the world at the same time God works to undo the injustice of empire. Christmas is God overthrowing the empire with a baby rather than an army.
There’s such absurdity and beauty in it at the same time. God began this work in Mary and Elizabeth’s wombs and continues to work against the evils of empire still today. We can be encouraged by this in the face of our discouragements and join God in the process.
Christmas is more than familiar songs and movies. Christmas is the overthrow of empire itself.Christmas is God overthrowing the empire with a baby rather than an army. Click To Tweet