Aren’t we all familiar with the painting of the two angels above? Two lovely babies are staring up to the skies, probably daydreaming and bored.
Those two cherubs can often be seen on murals, heavily marketed on t-shirts, postcards, stamps, even parodied by many.
Little that we know, that this painting is just a small part of a 265 cm × 196 cm oil painting. The title of the painting is Sistine Madonna, by the Italian artist, Raphael. The center of the painting is Infant Christ held by Mary. On the sides are Saint sixties and Saint Barbara, surrounded by dozens of obscured cherubs. All of them along with those two little angels are looking at Christ in the center.
The festivity of “christmas” has started to fill the world since a few weeks ago.
We’ve seen them in the manifestation of bright red decoration ornaments in the shopping malls.
Tickets for “christmas” concert are sold, featuring Beyonce, Enriqe Iglesias and Pitbull. In their ad, they said, “Feel the joy of Christmas”.
A high end restaurant sent me a mailer each week on December, inviting me to “savor the true spirit of Christmas”. And below the headline is a list of menus and wines at special price and a picture of DJ and a jazz band that will perform on 25 December.
On Facebook, a non-Christian friend even posted on her status, ”Even if you’re not a Christian, Christmas is always a good moment to celebrate by shopping.”
As a newbie in marketing communication, those ads are a reminder for me to be careful of how I represent the company I work for in our campaigns. As a Christian, the fact that the world celebrates “christmas” is very offending to me.
Christmas has been mistakenly commercialized, wrongfully made a tradition by non-Christians and even more by churches all over the world for so many time. Yes, I think churches have been abusing Christmas the worst by wearing lavish, meaningless decoration. Or by throwing a grand dinner party that serves costly food where the members of the congregation can check out each other’s dress and accessories. Or by having gift exchange ceremony lead by a big man with fake white beard dressed in red suits.
For me those kind of “christmas” is just like how people made those two cherubs in Raphael’s painting famous for being so cute, like two children day-dreaming. They have lost the center of the big picture, which is Christ!
All this time the world has been unknowingly celebrating a Christless “christmas”. And we Christians have forgotten to tell from the mountain the true miracle of Christmas. That is, that the Almighty God in heaven who reigns beyond time and space had interfered in history, incarnated as human in our time and space.
The Infinite limited Himself in flesh and blood. The Divine God had to live in the sinful world. The King of all kings was born in the poorest place to die in the most disgraceful way as the price of our sins.
It was not merry. It was not festive. There were no big sale. It was not loud. The biggest and most majestic concert was only watched by the shepherds. And it filled them with joy of hope, because the long awaited Savior had been born. Not because of the famous hip hop singer singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” that’s got nothing to do with Christmas.
Now as a member of the Body of Christ, do we dare to start breaking the chain of this traditional “christmas”?
Do we dare to celebrate Christmas as pure and simple as the manger where Jesus was laid in 2000 years ago?
Stop abusing Christmas. Let the world know Christmas for what it truly is.