Not a surprise – Jesus is NOT the reason for the season for most…

No-christmas-this-year-with-chainsaw-i-hate-christmas-underwear_design USA Today ran a lead article (on the front page and second page) about the following reality, "Christmas 2010 is a whole lotta jingle and not so much Jesus" (that's a quote from the article itself).  You can look at both articles by clicking HERE and HERE.  Now, this should not come as a HUGE surprise to anyone, especially those who have a passion for Jesus and for His Kingdom.  Unless you find yourself hiding under a rock or in some sort of time warp where you have been missing for the last decades, many have (rightly so) given an analysis of our age with the phrase, "Post-Christian Culture" or "Post-Christendom".  There are websites dedicated to this phenomenon as well as excellent books and articles written that provide the reader with a more comprehensive overview of the issue.  I don't have time to get into this dynamic here…all we can say is the obvious, "the Church has lost its favored status in our culture".  The dominant story in our culture is NOT the Christian story…people in the West will mention Jesus' name more in off-color language expressions than words of praise and adoration.  NOW, some bemoan this growing reality…some harken back to days long past and pine for the "good ole days"…OTHERS see this as more of what it purely is – the reality we live with, the ground on which we find ourselves, the setting IN WHICH we have been called and gifted by God to be difference makers for the Kingdom.  Actually, it is "easier" to have clarity on what it means to be a follower of Jesus in this type of setting than in a setting that is homogenized with a public spirituality where just about anything goes and is baptized as something "Christian".  The lines aren't as blurred as they once were where people would attend services and consider themselves committed to the purposes of God.  As Billy Sunday said back in the 20th century, "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile."  So, where does that leave us?  Exactly where we were before – God still loves people.  Every person matters to Him.  What doesn't matter is if we in Church circles are getting publicity or even "market share".  Just because the culture has changed doesn't mean things have changed for a person (or faith community) that loves, obeys and follows Jesus.  We are still in relationship with a loving, grace-filled, empowering God who commissions us to go and make disciples…the landscape may have changed a bit…but we're still on a mission…we still called to love God and love others…and we still have Christmas!  Not bad or even shocking/bad news, if you think about it?

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