I have in my right mitten, direct from my home office in the frozen wasteland of Corn Borer,Indiana, this month’s top ten list: Top Ten Politically Correct Christmas—excuse me, Holiday—Songs
10. Chestnuts Roasting on an Environmentally-friendly Fuel Source
9. Rudolph, the Endangered and Exploited Specie
8. We Three Politically Oppressive Patriarchs
7. Rocking Around the Recycled, Flame-retardant, Artificial Holiday Tree
6. All I Want For Christmas is a Dental Plan
5. Frosty the Snowperson
4. I Saw Mommy Suing Santa Claus for Sexual Harassment
3. I’m Dreaming of a Racially Diverse Christmas
2. I’ll Be Home For Ramadan (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice or . . .)
1. We Wish You a Non-sectarian Holiday
Yep, political correctness has wheedled its way into the celebration of Christmas-excuse me, non-sectarian gift-buying winter solstice.
At the risk of coming across as The Grinch,” Ebineezer Scrooge, and Henry Potter all gift-wrapped into one big “Humbug,” I’d like to propose putting some P.C. in our Christmas celebration. But before you cancel your subscription, let me change the meaning of P.C. to “Purposeful Concession.”
God Himself made some purposeful concessions on the first Christmas morning.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:
Christ Jesus . . . being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
After centuries of trying to get His message across through commandments and conflagrations, prophets and plagues, He conceded to communicate His love through becoming one of us. If Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t get the world’s attention, perhaps Bethlehem and Calvary would make all the papers.
Purposeful concessions included the Omniscient in the temple school learning the very commandments and laws He dictated on Mount Sinai (talk about a “teacher’s pet”!), the Omnipresent imprisoned in human flesh, as well as time and space, the Omnipotent brutally executed by His very creations.
Christmas is about incredible concessions to communicate God’s love and to redeem His beloved.
So, and here’s my point: We may need more P.C. (Purposeful Concession) to communicate the good news of Christmas.
Paul proclaims that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” so obviously racism, class-ism, and sexism have no part in the Gospel message, but purposeful concessions go even further.
Leonard Sweet suggests that to effectively communicate to our culture, rather than “three points” our sermons need to consist of “one picture.” Having taken Homiletics during the Polyester Age, that’s a major concession for me, but I’m now down to one picture with two points. (One step at a time.)
Our church has conceded to use more choruses and less hymns with more use of video projection and less hymnal usage. It hasn’t always been easy. One old-time member complained about projecting the lyrics of the Doxology. “Everybody knows the words to the Doxology.” Sorry, but few today have even heard the word “doxology.”
While we’ve been able to make changes in worship, as purposeful concessions to reach the un-churched, we still have a long way to go. Our 150-year-old church has no air-conditioning and repeatedly has voted down any recommendations to enter the 20th Century-let alone the 21st-of creature comfort. Apparently nothing says holy like heat stroke! (They did concede to padding the hardwood pews a few years ago, so there is hope.)
While God was willing to make purposeful concessions, He did not compromise His message. Okay, the hand-writing on the wall thing wasn’t that effective, so let’s try writing in the sand. The razzle-dazzle, Cecil B. DeMills miracles didn’t have the desired result, so let’s try turning water into wine at a wedding. And slaughtering lambs and bulls never had a lasting impact, so let’s sacrifice our Only Begotten Son to bring lasting forgiveness.
Though the method changed, God’s message remained the same. “I am holy. I am love. And I desire holy people who will love Me completely and love their neighbors as themselves.”
So this Christmas season, consider adding a bit more Purposeful Concessions to the celebration. Now, let’s all sing, “We Wish You a P.C. Christmas.”
Copyright © 1998 James N. Watkins
For more hope and ho! ho! ho! visit The 12 Sites of Christmas
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