Thursday, November 30, 2006

More on the "Vision of Advent"

I took notes on the sermon I mentioned in my previous post and wanted to share some of them.

An underlying theme of the sermon is that a defining characteristic and call to Christ-followers (ie. "the Church") is to live prophetically in a culture, which sometimes means critiquing it.

When Jesus entered the culture as a poor baby, it caused an upheaval in the society. So much so that the king had all the baby boys two-years-old and under murdered out of fear of this newborn king.

As American followers of Christ we have somehow married our capitalist consumerism culture with Jesus in an attempt to smooth out the tension that exists between the story of Christmas and the values of our culture. But by doing this, we’re missing/changing the Christmas story.

Paul sums up the story of the incarnation in 2 Corinthians 8:9 when he says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

The Christmas story is a story of the redistribution of wealth – that Christ who had everything in heaven become impoverished and entered into a world of poverty so that we might enter the blessing and wealth of His life.

Jesus didn't cling to his status or his wealth. He layed it down and gave it away so that the world could be blessed. Does our celebration of Christmas reflect this? Do we who are rich lay down our wealth and give it away so that others can be blessed?

Check out these statistics:
The U.S. spends $7 billion on Halloween
The U.S. spends $450 billion on Christmas

Then we read about the $20 billion that needs to be raised to solve Aids problems and the $100 billion that the UN is trying to come up with to solve the water crisis (lack of clean water is the cause of a huge amount of disease in developing countries) and we think, "How can we ever come up with the money to solve these problems?"

Hmm...any ideas?

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