The Ugliness of Christmas

I like to listen to various podcasts on my way to and from work. It helps pass the time as I’m sitting in rush hour. One of the podcasts I’ve started listening to lately is John MacArthur. A few days ago, they posted a sermon entitled, “The Ugliness of Christmas”. Before listening to it, I thought it might be about how materialistic we’ve become in our celebration of Christmas. I was soberly surprised. While I would highly recommend downloading the podcast and listening to it for the full effect, you can also read the transcript. Here’s a short piece of MacArthur’s excellent sermon.

…I suppose that most people when they think of this time of year think only of the beauty of it, and we’re surrounded by the beauty, lovely trees with bright lights and decorations, colorful ornaments, beautiful candles, wreaths, snow scenes, warm fire places and a hearth in a family home, beautifully wrapped presents, everything is bright and light and cheery and happy. And I guess that all of that symbolism is conveyed to us most significantly in the Christmas cards that we receive which present to us almost a world of fantasy, beauty, wonder, loveliness and that is one side of Christmas, without question.

But there’s also another side. There’s a very ugly side. And there are a lot of ways we could approach that. I mean, we could talk about a dark, cold night in a small non-descript village in Palestine where a lovely young woman gave birth to a baby in the most unsanitary wretched conditions imaginable, standing in the filth and manure of a stable. We could talk about the ugliness of a man named Herod who because he feared the loss of his control and power massacred all the babies in that region. Christmas does have some ugly aspects. We could talk about an indifferent population in Jerusalem.

But there’s something even beyond those things. There is lurking behind every beautiful scene on every Christmas card, every lovely sentiment of Christmas somewhere behind all of that is something very vile and very ugly, the most wretched heinous hideous reality in all the universe. And I really believe that to have a proper understanding of the beauty of Christmas, you must have a proper understanding of the ugliness of Christmas.

Intrigued? Download the podcast or read the rest of the transcript.

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