Last Christmas I was standing in the lobby (foyer?) of a mega-church. This particular church had as, mega-churches often do, an impressive display that was changed with the season or sermon series.
This one was particularly impressive. It was a triptych of sorts. On one side, there was a nativity scene, complete with wise men and shepherds (together at the same time? I know. I wrote them a strongly worded e-mail). On the opposite side was a Christmas tree covered in ornaments with pictures of kids they were sponsoring.
And in the middle, larger than either of the other sides, was a 20 foot tall cross.
This year I’ve seen friends post on facebook that “Jesus was born to die.” I read a blog recently that said, “Bethlehem only happened so Calvary could happen.” I listened to a sermon that imagined the first Christmas Eve as Jesus saying goodbye to his father and preparing for the cross (it ignored the fact that Jesus had been in Mary’s womb for 9 months since he wasn’t just God wearing a mansuit and it ignored the fact that he wasn’t going to die for another 33 years).
It seems that we are eager to turn Christmas into Good Friday.
I want to be upfront about where I stand on this: I hate it.
It is a lie, it is bad theology, and believing it is damaging you.