The Dawn of Redeeming Grace

Silent night, holy night

Few things evoke a feeling of “Christmas” in me as much as this song.

All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace

It’s a beautiful and compelling story. A year and a million lost lives into the first world war, a moment of calmness overtook the horror. At Christmas soldiers from both sides were moved to spontaneously choose peace, if only briefly. It is movingly portrayed in this viral video ad:

Yet I despaired by the end of the video. The self-proclaimed theme of the ad? “Christmas is for sharing.” Don’t get me wrong, it is a legitimate sentiment, and I am glad that Christmas is about generosity. But we all know that Christmas has become too much about material things for too many people.

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

So it is no surprise that when people want to do something with a Christmas spirit it most often retains that material focus: we drop spare change into the Salvation Army bucket, we donate toys to needy families, sharing, and so on. All good things and to be encouraged.

Silent night, holy night
Son of God; love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace

But what if we focused more intently on the dawn of redemptive grace referred to in this song? What if we honored Jesus’ life purpose at Christmas by actively participating in redemptive restoration? What if we focused the amazing energy, astounding resources, and inspiring spirit of Christmas on Justice?

Martin Luther King called Sunday morning in church the most segregated time in America, and a 2010 study by sociologists produced sobering statistics proving it was true. Research into Facebook and social network sites show an astonishing number of individuals with no cross-cultural/racial friends, and even more with very few.

Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

So with race still one of the most effective tools for the devil to divide us, with human slavery increasing in our time, with a hundred years passing since the war to end all wars and all we have to show for it is the realization that war just leads to more war, maybe it is time to think of Christmas spirit as something more.

Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

Proverb 21:15 (NIV) proclaims, “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”

What if that joy was the merry in our Christmas?

~Brian Vander Haak


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