What think ye of Christ?

I’m impressed by the “Jesus is _____” campaign. It’s catchy, it has viral appeal, and what’s more it arrives at the desired result — driving a large discussion about Christ — without imposing a predetermined path to discussion or a forced conclusion. It’s sponsored by some large Protestant churches (the largest being here in Seattle), but despite the relatively narrow view of Christ offered by the sponsored religions the campaign invites large and open discussion and debate about who Jesus is and what he means to us. As the site explains, “So maybe the reality of who Jesus is remains too big for the blank.”

As we reach the peak of Advent and Christmas draws near, my mind is preoccupied with thoughts of the Savior and of his birth (funny how that works. Thinking about Jesus? At Christmas????). I’m amazed at the capacity of Christmas to reinvigorate me with a love of Jesus and with the possibility of redemption. I mean it — I’m absolutely surprised, because each year I feel like I have grown a little colder and more difficult, so the fact that Christmas can roll around and give me this onrush of joy is just amazing. Though Dec. 25th may not be his birthday, I am very glad to celebrate Christ’s birth at this time of year. The skies grow dark — already at 4 p.m. here in Seattle it’s night — and everywhere is cold and dim. Jesus comes to us in this season, the light of the world, and he shows with clarity the reality of love in our lives. I love it when it’s dark outside, when the cold air takes your breath away, but inside is the warmth of the fire and the glow from ornaments and celebrations of Jesus. Perhaps these are nothing more than childhood memories that have nested in my adult psyche, but it’s a form of nostalgia that lightens my spirit and makes me quick to tears and quick to laughter — so who am I to refuse? The possibility of unconditional love and the chance at redemption and change offered by Christ is completely irresistible (especially when served up with kinderpunsch).

Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ,” a question that confused them — how could David call his son “Lord?”. Jesus could stump all of us if he wanted to. Even his birth is a head-scratcher, full of miraculous event and interesting questions that we probably don’t understand or even want to explore too closely. The grand atonement — the whole purpose behind his birth — is virtually impossible to explain. And yet his power is real. It makes me smile sometimes to think of our very lives depending on a total mystery that relies wholly upon the experiential. So Christmas comes and miraculously I feel myself just letting a sense of joy enter my life despite my confusion and despite my lack of understanding. When I see a bumper sticker or online ad that says, “Jesus is _______”, that’s how I fill in the blank at this time of year. Jesus is many things, and his reality does transcend the blank. But for now, just knowing that Jesus IS will suffice for me. Merry Christmas!

Comments

  1. Observer (f.k.a. Eric S.) says:

    Good one. I feel like it should be easy for me to answer. But it’s not.

  2. Merry Christmas, frere.

  3. Steve Evans says:

    joyeux noel frere Stapley — on va faire la galette des rois cette annee!

  4. While I am impressed with what’s written in this post, particularly its reverence and sincerity, I am afraid I can’t say the same for the campaign. I took a look at the site and found a lot of folks using it to write disrespectful and degrading things about the Savior. It is very disappointing.

  5. Steve Evans says:

    Ed, sure — but even those detracting from Jesus in the campaign are talking about him. I guess the perspective of the campaign is that getting people to talk about Jesus, think about him — even if it’s a debate, even if it is to mock him — these are steps forward towards bringing them to Christ.

  6. Steve Evans says:

    Incidentally, the trailer promo for the campaign is pretty great.

  7. I will give them credit for not censoring or editing people’s contributions. Perhaps that builds a certain amount of credibility with current skeptics that may move them in a different direction down the road.

  8. Steve Evans says:

    Yes, exactly. They are far more bold about public participation than, say, BCC is.

  9. Mark Brown says:

    You’ve described some of my own feelings so well. Thanks Steve, and Merry Christmas!

  10. Thanks for this post.

  11. Happy Christmas, y’all.

  12. This post is the High Councilman talk that I would like to have heard this month. Thanks for sharing.

    That is meant to be a compliment.

  13. Steve Evans says:

    :) thanks Aaron.

  14. Steve used an emoticon.

    Chalk it!

  15. Jesus is – the only thing I can look to with full surety. The beacon that won’t disappoint, that is infallible, that I don’t have to say “yeah, he’s great, but he’s still human” because he wasn’t and isn’t. He is the only being on whom I can have complete faith, and will never be let down. He is who will love me when I feel undeserving of love and who will forgive me when I feel unworthy of compassion. He is the one who gives me joy and peace.

    Thanks Steve for turning my thoughts to Him.

  16. Personally, I’m not a big fan of those billboards. I’m a little funny about that stuff, though, and I think it trivializes Jesus. Maybe it’s just me, and that’s fine.
    What I wanted to say regarding this post is that I am grateful for this time of year, just like you mentioned, because it is like we all get a month of reprieve from our daily grind and grumpiness. I wish more people would realize that the reason we all feel happier in December, more generous, giving and kind, is because we are thinking of Christ. We are more in tune with his spirit and his message this time of year. It sounds cheesy, and I’m sure there are goofy holiday songs that say this, but I truly wish we were able to have the focus of Christ all year long and not just for this random month of December.

  17. That site doesn’t seem to be driving much discussion, but I like the idea.

    I like this post even more. Merry Christmas, Steve.

  18. Love the Jesus is… site. Definitely inspiring but truthful–I like the variety. Just like real life.

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