Christmas has turned into a holiday for kids and women. The kids have their toys while Hallmark and HGTV have seen to it that the holiday has been appropriately feminized to keep pace with the rest of our whimpy culture. But in the Scriptures all sorts of masculine stuff is going on at the birth of Christ. There is Joseph who is a real man and takes the pregnant Mary under his wings at the angel’s command. Then there is the rustic side of Christmas: a stable, a feed trough, smelly shepherds in the fields and the bloody gore of the slaughter of the innocents. To cap it all off you have the angels singing the “Gloria” which has always been given the most masculine musical weight in our liturgies through the ages.
Speaking of the slaughter of the innocents, we are reminded that the Christmas story has plenty of manly shortcomings as well. Joseph’s original idea was to put Mary away quietly. Then there was the poor planning for the family which landed them in the stable. (I remember when Phyllis and I first started out. It took a few years of hard luck on the road before I learned how to properly care for the family by planning ahead and making reservations.) Then there is the cowardly slaughter of innocents – man using his God-given leadership in hasty violence to serve the self.
Thank God there was a Christmas, and a Good Friday and an Easter. These sins are all paid for. Blessed Christmas to each of you Brothers of John the Steadfast and to all our readers. May God’s manly word of Christmas build you up as a better leader in the church and at home.
Some Belated Journalistic Gifts
In the next few days we have some great stories and gifts for you. By way of gifts, we are nearly ready to roll out our “Lutheranwikipedia.” It will be a community developed dictionary of terms Lutherans need to know and that are used frequently on this website. We will be looking to each of you to help us complete it over the years. Also look for a series of articles on an LCMS congregation that cannot get district funding due to confessional policies and yet gets Ablaze funds none the less. We also have discovered a journal article written by an Ablaze insider who says the program is failing. You won’t believe what his solution is. We also are working on an article based on a district staffer who has had the great discovery that small groups are for the family and get this – is hoping the church can create resources for such a small group. (I think there are already are some.) Finally, our regular columnists are constantly on the look-out for timely articles to build up the Brothers and there will certainly be more of those coming during the Christmas tide.
Have a blessed Christ-mass and we will be talking again with you soon.