As we begin 2017 we will be delivering a series of messages with the title “Anomaly.” The word anomaly means a deviation from the norm; something unusual, strange or unexpected. For me, the word anomaly is most appropriate when I observe how our culture celebrates this Advent/Christmas season and how faithful followers of Jesus live through the month of December.
To shun the accoutrements of this secular, consumer-driven culture in order to focus upon that which is most important can be seen as very strange by a typical observer; you could say that a truly Christian celebration this time of year is an anomaly.
James Merritt is the Lead Pastor at Cross Pointe Church near Atlanta, Georgia. He describes this clash of cultures the following way.
Ironically, the time of year called Christmas is a time of both celebration and separation. Because at no other time of the year is the Christian more separated from the world than at Christmastime. The world celebrates a season, but the Christian celebrates a Savior.
Whether this world likes it or not, and increasingly the world doesn't like it, Christmas is the celebration of the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now there are some people who will be so drunk they will not know whose birthday it is. There are some people who are so devious they want to forget whose birthday it is, and there are some people who are so depressed at this time of year they don't care whose birthday it is.
For the most part, the world will be throwing a big party, but they will forget to invite the guest of honor. Much of this world reminds me of a story of two women who were enjoying an expensive lunch in a downtown restaurant. It was obvious that they were celebrating some festive occasion. When the waitress asked the occasion for the lunch, one woman said, "We are celebrating my baby's birthday."
But the waitress seeing no child said, "Where is the baby?" The mother said, "Well, you don't think I would bring the baby do you? Why he would ruin the whole party.”