Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.
That’s a lot to spend on Christmas decorations. Sadly, it’s the estimate Australians will spend on decorations this Christmas. In contrast, tens of millions of children around the world will spend Christmas sleeping on the streets with empty stomachs exposed to all types of exploitation and abuse. Something is wrong don’t you think?
At its heart, Christmas is meant to be much more than sentimental carol singing, family BBQs and a holiday. Christmas is celebrating the gift of hope for a better world. It’s about the coming of the Prince of Peace who taught a way to live based on love. Jesus called it the rule of God, and its focus was not a change of government, but on a change of heart. It was full of explosive religious, economic and political implications, so much so that the religious and political leaders of the day were threatened and had him executed.
Jesus is no less threatening today. Despite his message of love and his non-violent acts, he is still a divisive figure. Mahatma Gandhi once suggested, “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.” Perhaps we could say of those who say Jesus has nothing to do with politics, you don’t know Jesus. I guess the thought he might suggest we spend less on decorations, and more on loving our neighbours, is just a step too political. But it would be a step in the right direction to a better world. Don’t you think?