Christmas Today

This movie might be funny (well, I think it is, anyway), but it does illustrate some interesting things:

  • Technology influences language. The Magi followed a star; this means they got on their camels (or other beasts of burden) and physically chased after a heavenly object. Today we follow people by reading what they publish on Twitter. Science fiction often uses this technology-language interplay to create new worlds or to highlight the difference between our world and their imagined one. For instance, see Ray Bradbury’s firemen in Fahrenheit 451, who light books on fire rather than putting out fires.
  • We need “cultural stories.” This video only works if you have working knowledge of the Christmas story as told in Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2, recorded in the Bible. If you don’t already know those narratives, this video will fly over your head. We need these common stories to be able to share a culture; otherwise we start floating apart. (Consider: what previous knowledge do you need to understand the movie?)
  • We need to be aware of what “cultural stories” are shared and which ones are not. I would guess that most people in the United States are still at least vaguely familiar with Nativity sets, but I wouldn’t venture to say that most Americans understand what the Nativity set really shows. We can use videos like the one above “within” our culture, but let’s make sure we tell the real story clearly to those who do not yet share the faith.
  • The last note of the video is very revealing of our culture: “Times change. Feelings remain the same.” Times do change. I can agree with that. But I hate to tell you: feelings change all the time. Just because I feel something now doesn’t mean I’ll still feel it tomorrow. Perhaps better would have been, “Times change. God’s feelings remain the same.” Because God does still love us, and he did send his Son for us. He knew we were worthless, but he loved us anyway. His unchanging love is what saved us. It has nothing to do with “feel-good Christmas.”

4 thoughts on “Christmas Today

  1. Bookspirit, you can always show them yourself. 🙂 We certainly won’t mind getting more eyes here!

    How people communicate has changed when you compare with two thousand years ago or even twenty years ago. The need to communicate has not, though — nor has the need for Christians to speak to people about why Christmas is so amazing. God became one of us! He set aside his power and became one of us… to save us!

  2. There are many people who will not have any idea about the nativity story.
    I have students who have never heard of Martin Luther (did not even connect with a hint with “lutherans”. The ‘war against Christmas’ has succeeded better than we think. I have also had students who think Charlie Daniels, “the Devil Went Down to Georgie” is religious in nature. Thanks to technology, among other things, the shared experiences that most of us grew up with are disappearing. I had 1 student out of 94 know the #1 song in the country. No one else even cared. What does that mean for evangelism, business, interpersonal connections?
    Great video — I enjoyed it!

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