Christmas Is an Offensive Holiday

by | Dec 6, 2017

Christmas Is an Offensive Holiday

by | Dec 6, 2017

When I first got married, I was terrible at gift-giving. For my wife’s birthday two weeks after our wedding, I tried buying her a necklace. She took one look at it, and said, “Uhhh … this would be a great gift. If I were in middle school.” That’s when I discovered a rule of life. The jewelry your wife really wants? You can’t afford. And the jewelry you can afford? She doesn’t really want.

Then came Valentine’s Day. And being my thoughtful self, I decided instead of getting my wife roses, it would be a good idea to give her a rose bush. Something that would live for a long time, and would always be a symbol of my love whenever she looked at it. But when that rose bush landed on her desk, my wife was not quite as excited as I thought she’d be. Because there’s another rule of life. On Valentine’s Day, you’re not supposed to give a symbol of your love. You’re supposed to give something so ridiculously big and gaudy that it will make every other girl in the office totally jealous. A rose bush doesn’t quite do that.

Then a few months later came Easter. I still hadn’t learned anything. I made my wife a basket full of candy, and then I thought it would be funny to put a Buns of Steel exercise video in there too. She weighed like 50 pounds. It was a joke! For some reason, she didn’t get the joke. She punched me and walked out of the room. And still brings up the Buns of Steel 22 years later. That was an offensive gift.

And Christmas is the same. It’s an offensive holiday. Think about it. Why do we give each other gifts at Christmas? Because God gave us a gift at the first Christmas: his son, Jesus. And why did he have to give his own son to us? Because we’re all so messed up, we can’t fix ourselves. We’re hopeless. We needed God himself to come and be born in a barn, grow up in a poor family, wander around as a homeless guy for a few years, and then die on a cross for us. When God gave us his son Jesus, he was basically saying, “You losers can’t deal with life any other way!” That’s a pretty offensive gift.

Here’s how Tim Keller said it in his new book on Christmas: “Christmas is the most unsentimental, realistic way of looking at life. It does not say, ‘Cheer up! If we all pull together we can make the world a better place.’ The message of Christmas is that things really are this bad, and we can’t heal or save ourselves. Things really are this dark … But nevertheless, there is hope.”

In order to really understand Christmas, we need to really understand how hopeless we are without Christ, and how much hope he brings to this world and to our lives.