Sitting in my Christmas polar bear pajama pants, wearing my bunny socks near the fireplace I didn't read the charming and heartwarming Christmas-y Bible passages one might expect. With my family's lovely little Christmas village sitting on the mantle looking over me I read:
"Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light-- pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?" Amos 5:18-20
"Woe to you who are complacent in Zion." Amos 6:1
A lot of "woes" and not a lot of "Rejoices."
But of course, it was not irrelevant to Christmas. Actually I think it speaks a lot about the way we celebrate Christmas now.
In America at our best we want Christmas to be magical, whimsical and dreamy. We want it to be like "it's a wonderful life" with snowy homes and people getting together to sing Christmas carols. And at our minimum we want Christmas to be affordable, gratifying, and quick.
Either way: it's not about Jesus.
Jesus came to earth on Christmas day because we needed to be saved from our complacency. We needed to be saved from our desire to experience what isn't God. We needed to be saved from our selfishness.
I so look forward to December 25 on this blog when I can write about all the comforting Christmas passages. I want to talk about the angels and Mary and the star of Bethlehem. And I don't believe that's me wanting to be "complacent." I think it's the most invigorating and soul-satisfying story there is, besides the rest of Jesus's life.
But here I am in Amos and I'm not even sure if I'm interpreting it correctly but it seems to be a warning against going through the motions. What does Christmas really actually mean to us? How does the God of the Universe manifested human baby in an animal feeding trough change who we are? How do we allow that to affect us?
Holy Spirit, may we not be complacent, may we be moved body and spirit by the gift of God's Son in this season.