Willing to be Unacknowledged

At Christmas time each year, the battle once again heats up over references to Christmas. Businesses and government, as institutions that in some way reflect public sentiment, make decisions regarding how they will relate to the yuletide festivity. As the number of Christians, as a percentage of the population, has waned, the result has been that societal organizations have reflected the presence of Christians less and less.

The Nativity itself does not appear to be the guiding principle used by Christians to address the so-called “assault on Christmas.” This would reflect a cultural Christianity, rather than a genuine spiritual Christianity. Jesus’ arrival was not accompanied by demands of acknowledgement; in fact it was the opposite. The only segment of the population of Bethlehem upon whom the announcement of the Savior’s arrival would not be wasted was the shepherds (Lk 2:8-20).

Had the King of the universe wanted His arrival to be acknowledged, he would not have chosen a destitute, newlywed couple, traveling to an area where they were unknown, who could only find room in a stable, and who had rank shepherds as attendees at the postpartum baby shower. Once the religious leaders and civil authorities were later made aware of the arrival, by foreign, Gentile visitors, the waste (and danger) of a wider announcement became clear (Mt 2:1-6; 16-18).

During the Christmas season, might we learn to live like the baby King. It is certainly a struggle; deep down, we want others to acknowledge our presence, and treat us well. “I deserve it” goes the cry of many. Yet Jesus began His life in unacknowledged obscurity, and when His presence was made public, a cohort of soldiers seeking His demise was His welcome parade. When given a chance to demand His rights, He laid them down (1 Pet 2:23). He died the death of a common criminal, yet we have forgotten that He promised the same reaction to those who would follow Him (Mk 10:29-30; Joh 15:20; 2 Tim 3:12-13).

He was indeed acknowledged by the shepherds, but His actions indicated that He was only seeking acknowledgement from those who were already looking for Him. The key was in His attitude, a willingness to not feel slighted by the lack of acknowledgement. The acknowledgement from God, out of Christ's humility, came later, and He promised us the same (Php 2:3-11; 1 Pet 5:6). Let us make Christmas this year a commitment to be willing to be unacknowledged, that we might live like the King.

fcox3rd's picture

fcox3rd says:

I was emailed this video. It is 31 min long but I was glued to it. I need to do some more research into it, because I heard some stuff I had never heard before.  ANY COMMENTS?????

riojano's picture

riojano says:

I have heard it said that "the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history." Christians have been ever anxious to find affirmation through acknowledgment or praise from those who are not Christians. Part of this is prompted by the desire to evangelize and spread the understanding of the Bible that we have, and part of it comes from a desire to be liked because Christians are quick to believe that somehow the non-Christian world has superiority in insight, wisdom, practices, or appeal.

The video points to parts of history where Christianity, in order to find acceptance or affirmation from non-Christian elements, has adopted pagan elements into its practices. The same pattern is illustrated in the Old Testament, as from the time of Samuel to the captivity in Babylon the people of Israel did not gain anything by adopting teachings and practices from their pagan neighbors. The end result has not been that the non-Christian world has seen fit to take any steps closer to Christianity (as Christians might hope for), but rather that they reach the conclusion that Christians do not really hold consistently to a belief. Christians then, in history, sought to impose their system with both Christian and pagan elements, on a world that did not want it. Some Christians are heading in a similar direction today, as was the argument of my blog. Rather than living as Jesus did, some Christians want to demand that others recognize a holiday that, as the video points out, has many traditions (including the date that it is celebrated) that do not have a Christian origin to begin with.

So, attempts by Christianity to compromise with the non-Christian world, with the purpose of gaining recognition or acceptance, have not turned out well for Christianity, and I think today we are repeating some of the mistakes. We are letting acceptance by non-Christians in general drive what we believe, and when the non-Christian world still does not embrace us, we seek to impose our traditions and lifestyle on them.

We need to come to know the King personally, and offer others the opportunity to follow the King, knowing that following God has never been the popular thing to do. True followers of God have pretty much always been in the minority in the environment in which they find themselves.

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