This post is possibly history making. I’m going to relate “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” to the gospel. (I watched this movie in a trailer park with a bunch of armed security guards, so I just have to be a fan.) Anyways, at one point, Ricky Bobby prays to “Dear Lord baby Jesus” then, just to mess with his wife, escalates to praying to “Dear 8 lb. 6 oz. baby Jesus.” Heretical? Hypocritical? Scandalous? Nahh. This is why I love Christmas…
Some louder voices in the public sphere decry a war on Christmas, concerned that the commercialization and kitsch drown out the true meaning of the season. I have a different take. I love that at Christmastime, unabashed spirituality creeps into the public sphere. Those of us who are believers will always carve out devotional time in our lives. Our celebration of Christmas in our homes will match our belief and we will certainly celebrate Christ from the creche to the ascention. Jesus is our Lord and King, the Savior of the World, our Redeemer, our Friend. Nothing is more fitting for those of us who believe in the miracle of His sacrifice, than to listen and agree with the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel’s Messiah.
But not everyone in the world is a believer in Christ. Or perhaps their personal faith, for whatever reason, is not currently manifest in their lives. Christmas is a time when the simplest message of Christianity is embraced, unabashedly, by the public. “Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men.” No matter what your religious belief is, that is a message that the world can get behind. Even if only for the fleeting moments of Christmas, when we hear carols in every store, see angels and lights on houses, and are wished good tidings by friends, that is a universal message that people are more inclined to embrace. It may be the lowest common denominator of Christianity, but what a common denominator it is. If only we could have peace, if only we can practice goodwill. That is a message I’ll share with those I love, no matter their religious belief or lack thereof.
So, at this Christmastime, I’m remembering the baby Jesus, and praying for peace. I’m praying that the wars will cease, and if that can’t happen, I’m praying that those separated from their families by war can be safe and protected. I’m praying that we can increase the measure of goodwill that we radiate. I’m remembering baby Jesus along with the large part of the world, and I’m glad He is something we can share.