I’ve been thinking a lot about the birth of Christ recently, specifically about the Incarnate God stepping into such a harsh, unforgiving, and inhospitable world and how He continues to love that world even when it is actively and aggressively opposed to Him. I’ve also been thinking about the cancel culture in which we now live, specifically about the growing Christian cancel culture.
For those unfamiliar with the term cancel culture, it is the idea that those who offend us should be immediately ostracized. Those with questionable or controversial opinions should be boycotted or outright cancelled. This does not just apply to large companies or local businesses, but to individuals, to friends and even family members. Then in our outraged state, we surround ourselves with only the people who think what we think, value what we value, and live as we live—we throw out, block or cancel everyone else from our physical spaces and our social media as if their value was dependent upon what they thought or said and not in the fact that they were created in the image of God.
I tend to agree with Anne Lamott in thinking, “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” I will go one step further an add—you cannot claim to welcome the infant Christ into your hearts and homes at Christmas, or any time of the year for that matter, if you are unwilling to welcome, love, and be in relationship with people who are different from you or with whom you may disagree. What we do to the least of these we do to Christ.
I have mentioned once before on this blog that in the wee hours of the morning after I’ve had a cup of coffee and spent some time in prayer, before anyone else in the house is awake, I log onto my computer and teach online English classes to children in China. I originally took the job to make some extra money, but in the process of teaching I have developed true relationships with these children and their families despite the fact that we do not share the same language, culture, political or religious beliefs—we don’t even share the same physical space. All of the things I once thought were necessary to develop and maintain a relationship with another person are absent, and yet I have still come to know, care for, and love these children and families as if they were my own. Without even knowing it, they have challenged my thinking and opened my eyes to a world of beauty. A poorer person I would have been for sure had I not come to know them.
Friends, we have been called to a greater love and freedom, one that is not bound by fear and judgment or any agenda except the well-being of another. It is for your benefit, as well.
Welcome the infant Christ into your hearts and homes this Advent.
You are free to love because He first loved you.