Patterico's Pontifications


Merry Christmas!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:03 am

[guest post by Dana]

(Trigger Warnings: Jesus, God and turkey are mentioned in this post, because, you know, Christmas…)

Merry Christmas to all Patterico readers! Well, I’ve already wrestled the turkey (and won!) and it’s now in the oven (rubbed with cranberry-orange balsamic and stuffed with fresh oranges and herbs), the gifts are wrapped and Christmas music fills the house. What are your plans for today? I hope your day will be wreathed in the love of family and those who care for you most. If you are alone today, may your soul sense the whispering nearness of God and be joyously overwhelmed. Due to his military service, one of my kids will not be making it home for the holidays. And as he’s missing home, “home” is certainly missing him, too. Yet this is his job and what an honorable job it is. That assurance eases the ache in this parent’s heart. Anyway, Christmas:

At Christmas, we celebrate the great occasion when the infinite Word became a finite baby. Not surprisingly, Christmas time is therefore a time to reflect on this staggering paradox—the one who spoke the galaxies into being is the same one who was held by a woman, cooing at her, not knowing how to speak at all. That is what happened.

Christmas was the beginning of the great offer, where God comes down, not to demand service, but to offer service. Jesus Christ took on a human body that was capable of dying so that He could give His life as a ransom for many. He came to give Himself away; He did not come to seize or grab anything.

Now there is glorious good news in this, but something still sounds wrong. Something is off. If God is our servant, then what is to prevent us from demanding obeisance from Him like so many selfish graspers? The answer to this puzzler is found in the fact that God did not just reverse who the master is and who the servants are, but rather He completely transforms the nature of authority and the nature of service. The question is not just who is in authority?, but also what is authority like?

Jesus did not come because He was in need of our service. “If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: For the world is mine, and the fulness thereof” (Psalm 50:12). He does not call us into His service so that we might fill up something that He was lacking. He lacks nothing—He is the everlasting and triune overflow. At the same time, He does transform us into His servants, so that we might be privileged to become part of His overflow. This is why, in the verse just prior, Jesus said of us that “whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:44, ESV).

In His everlasting wisdom, God determined—according to the good counsel of His will—that He would be most glorified if a ragged band of sinners were transformed into a multitude of saints, so that we might join Him in His surplus. And this is what true servanthood is—flowing into His overflow. We become servants in imitation of Him, facing outward, facing those who truly do need service, so that all things in heaven and on earth might come to be inundated by His torrential glory.

The extraordinary Glorious Impossible happened. For us. Merry Christmas.


26 Responses to “Merry Christmas!”

  1. Hello and Merry Christmas!

    Dana (8e74ce)

  2. Merry Christmas, Dana!

    The potatoes are done and the lamb chops are getting there.

    nk (dbc370)

  3. Merry Christmas!

    Offering Yuletide greetings to our Christian friends is a task that is gladly accepted by the Jewish community. For no matter how silly the idea of God in diapers is to us, as Jews we must be gracious and considerate neighbors.

    (With apologies to Lt. Frank Drebin of Police Squad.)

    aunursa (932331)

  4. Dana, I just packed off my wife and kids to visit her family back east for the holidays. So we did our Christmas a day early. Now I can settle down to grading papers and exams. I hope that the spirit of generosity is with me, though many of these folks will do our colonoscopies in a few years.

    Best wishes to you and yours, and especially to your child in the service. Thank him for me, please.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, ma’am. Thanks much for your contributions here, and your fine example to others.

    Simon Jester (fe6d7b)

  5. when i get hungry i tell people

    happyfeet (831175)

  6. Ever the Greek, nk!

    Well, thank you for a task well done, aunursa! I appreciate it!

    May generosity be yours, Simon Jester. But as a middle-age person, I sure hope you fail if necessary – nobody wants a colonoscopy done by one who received a seasonal “mercy” pass!

    Dana (8e74ce)

  7. you might need to get a burner phone, like Jason bourne, Pikachu.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  8. Merry Christmas.

    NJRob (904e37)

  9. she doesn’t seem to have my work phone digits

    so sometimes i turn off or leave behind my personal

    happyfeet (831175)

  10. someone should create a new thread and call it Merry Christmas! and make a right proper christmas comment pudding of it

    happyfeet (831175)

  11. Lovely post, Dana. It hits all the right notes.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  12. Watching the kids is my favorite part of the day.

    JD (8cd158)

  13. Sure, sure, aunursa. And in another year, your kids will again be getting a present every day for eight days, for waking up in the morning and saying “God hates Greeks”.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. The girls got a PS4 for Christmas, meaning that the television has been taken over completely and I’m pretty much kicked upstairs to the computer room.

    The Dana on the computer (1b79fa)

  15. Merry Christmas!

    Gil (27c98f)

  16. I really enjoyed the post.

    when i get hungry i tell people

    happyfeet (831175)

    I believe you.

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  17. yup it’s a lil hack i learned when i was a week old or so

    happyfeet (831175)

  18. But the key reason the president doesn’t go to church more often, DuBois and others close to him said, is because he worries that his presence detracts from other worshipers’ experience.

    happyfeet (831175)

  19. After the wife and I and our one remaining at home checked Santa’s offerings in our stockings this am and had brunch, we went to see Unbroken, as a print out from Fandango was one of the offerings in my stocking, then we went for the full (immediate, sort of) family Christmas gathering for the first time at the home of one of our grown children. A good time had by all.

    The movie was very good, though emotionally draining. Having read the book and reading/hearing other things by and about Zamperini, it seemed pretty true to what I had remembered. While the movie ended with his return home after WWII, it did have an epilogue that made mention of his struggle with PTSD and overcoming it after he turned his life over to God, though it was not specific about his becoming a Christian at a Billy Graham “crusade”.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  20. Thanks for sharing that MD. Looks like I’ll have to add the film to my list of things to see.

    NJRob (904e37)

  21. 19
    It is rather distracting when the congregants mistake you for God. And possibly in Obama’s case distracting when they do not.

    kishnevi (3719b7)

  22. Merry Christmas to you too, Dana, and thanks for all your hard work this year on the blog.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  23. Merry Christmas one and all!

    Bill M (906260)

  24. (Trigger Warnings: Jesus, God and turkey are mentioned in this post, because, you know, Christmas

    Another example of liberalism being a form of, yes, mental illness, and also a form of growing cancer., December 22, 2014: The church needs to focus more on art and less on religion and converting people in an effort to become less “churchy,” according to Stanford University’s Dean for Religious Life, The Very Reverend Dr. Jane Shaw.

    “I think people are always slightly surprised that I’m not very churchy as a person,” Shaw told the Palo Alto Online in an interview. “I don’t think church is to be more churchy. I think church is about, anyone should be welcome. I’m really interested in how you welcome many different kind of constituencies, certainly not convert them, not even necessarily to do religion all the time.”

    Stanford announced that Shaw, 51, was to join the school’s Department of Religious Studies in July as a dean and professor of religious studies, moving to the school from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. At Grace Cathedral, Shaw was not only the first woman to head the church, but the first openly lesbian dean.

    Shaw, hailed as a “champion within the LGBT community” by the Palo Alto Online, was a founding member of the Chicago Consultation, a think tank made up of Anglican and Episcopal bishops, clergy, and lay people who support the full inclusion of LGBT people into the church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

    “We are lucky to have found in Jane Shaw both a charismatic leader and an accomplished academic to lead our Office for Religious Life,” said Stanford Provost John Etchemendy in a statement. “Dean Shaw is equally committed to the educational mission of the university and the ecumenical mission of Memorial Church.”

    “I think the great crisis of our day is climate change and the environment,” Shaw said in the video interview. “So I rather hope that more people would take that seriously and begin to think and reflect on what they are doing with their own lives and how they can bring some pressure to bear to change things.”

    ^ That woman is to Christianity what Nidal Hasan is (or was) to the US military. Or sort of like allowing the proverbial fox (a liberal one) into the proverbial hen house.

    Mark (c160ec)

  25. way to think outside the box, lesbian preacher lady

    you win 90’s dance party!

    click now to get your reward

    happyfeet (831175)

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