just an apprentice

the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

O Holy Night

There has been a bit of a stir even in mainstream media this last week about the question of whether or not Christian churches will be open for worship services on Christmas day (which falls on a Sunday this year). NBC nightly news reported that many mega-churches, like Willow Creek, will be closed on Christmas day. Around Lancaster county several of the mega-churches will also be closed...Worship Center, LCBC.... In the various soundbites from pastors who are closing for Christmas day, I hear an attempt being made to meet our culture where it is at, to accomodate to the lifestyles of the unchurched whom they are trying to reach.

I think this is where we get caught up in the never-ending vortex of relevancy. Worship on Christmas day is about recognizing what God is doing in the birth of the baby in a Bethlehem manger. For God, this involved quite a bit of inconvenience (Philippians 2:5-11). The incarnation, taking on flesh, identifying with our weakness to the point of becoming a vulnerable, dependant baby. This should inspire our never-ending awe and worship. Let us come into what God is doing, not try to fit him into our desires and wants.

Yet, much popular evangelical worship has drifted so far into the waters of relevancy that worship is highly shaped by secular influences, and church is steeped in the drug of Modernity--individualism. We plan our worship around the market, the consumer, rather than around God. Since many stayed at home on Christmas day in 1994, we make adjustments to accomodate the lifestyle of our culture. Is that what our sin-sick, self-obsessed culture needs, even the Church to send the message that you (the individual) are number one. I don't care what spin you put on it, this is not the direction we receive from historic Christianity.

O, come let us adore him.

Here is a poem by St. John of the Cross entitled, The Incarnation:

Then He called an Archangel, known as Gabriel,
and sent him to a Virgin known as Mary,
at whose consent the mystery took place,

in whom the Trinity clothed the Word with flesh.

And although three performed the deed,
it was done through the one;
and the Word lived
Incarnate in Mary's womb.

And He Who had only a Father
now had a Mother too,
but she was not like others
who are conceived by man.

From her own flesh
He received His flesh
so He is called the Son of God
and of man.