What does Christmas mean with the current climate of the country? How does the story of the birth Christ play a part in a divided nation?
Between sexual assault allegations, racial injustices, and natural disasters how does one get into the spirit of Christmas and reverence its importance and not forget people who are hurting?
A few local clergy in Madison reflected on this as the Christmas holiday approaches.
Marcio Sierra Jr,, senior pastor at LightHouse Church says, “Christmas is a time when we remember the birth of Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord. The birth of Jesus is the greatest expression of love from God, who gave his most precious treasure, His only Son, for us, as a sacrifice for our sins.”
Sierra noted how this truth shoulders the nation’s pain when he says, “During these times of racial injustice, sexual misconduct, and other evil things, Christmas reminds us that there is a hope for Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy.”
Finishing with the idea that these events are not final with the hope of Jesus when, Sierra says, “We live in a world of darkness, Christmas is all about the Light coming to destroy that darkness.”
In response to the same question Adam Clauson, of Life Center Madison, says this about Christmas: “The Christmas season offers followers of Christ an annual opportunity to celebrate the generosity and benevolence of our God.”
He adds the weight of Christ coming in flesh when he says, “Reflection on Jesus’ incarnation helps clarify all perceptions, understandings, and hopes of what the Divine looks like in flesh and blood, and reminds us that our God has chosen to not remain aloof and abstract, but rather personal and present.”
With this in mind, Clauson comments on what the Christmas message means in light of events happening in the country. “The Incarnation is proof of God’s love for humans as Jesus chose to identify with all of our earthly limitations, storms, sorrows, pains, and injustices, yet show how all can be overcome through faith in God.”
He follows by saying the Good News of Christ is hope and that “God has repeatedly proven to His children hope does not disappoint.” The story of Christmas reminds that despite racial injustices and sexual misconduct, there is still a God in heaven that gives hope.
Rev. David Carlson of Bethany Evangelical Free Church has this to say about the spiritual importance of Christmas: “…It is when the Creator affirms the value of his creation by becoming part of it.” He brings in a central theme of the Gospel when it says, “…it is about the love, as it says, ‘…God so loved the world that he sent his son…’ ”
In light of the nation’s current situation and understanding who the central persons of the Christmas story are he states Carlson says, “The parents of the Christ were not powerful, but working people. They were not from a great country, but from one under occupation. They were not from the center of power, but from the fringes. A distant un-elected monarch dictated a tax that caused a child to be born away from home. The first visitors were those from a profession on the margins of life – shepherds were not highly regarded at the time. Those who brought gifts were foreigners, as the local citizens were not that interested.”
Carlson emphasizes that Christ came in hardship and when things were uncomfortable. God used the ones that are dismissed and forgotten in society to bring His son to the earth.
Once the weight of this story understood, the church cannot help but intercede on behalf of those who are hurting. Whether is natural disaster, sexual misconduct or racial injustices victims, these clergy point to the story of the birth of Christ requiring the church to love.