If you grew up in the USA as a refugee or immigrant from another country then you probably, like me, got duped into thinking Santa was going to bring you presents. Being born on Christmas Day I thought I had it made. But when the gifts never came I realized the truth, that Santa couldn’t even pronounce my Asian name cause he was a big fat white guy who only brought gifts to white families.
As a kid I used to lay in bed wishing I could have a big green tree with big presents next to a big fireplace like the other kids at school or like the movies I’d seen. But that dream morphed into something else as I envisioned Santa flying across the sky with his reindeer, in his sleigh, with all those gifts, passing over my cramped apartment building in the ghetto and pointing his fat finger while laughing, “Ho, Ho, Ho, you sucka!!!”
Back in the day, as newly arrived refugees, my parents didn’t speak English let alone know jack squat about American holidays. They didn’t know about presents or Santa or Christmas. Us inner city Asian kids had to learn about American culture and its traditions on our own. We had to learn about American religion on our own too. I grew up thinking that Christmas was a white persons holiday and Christianity was a white persons religion…and for the most, I was right.
All I saw during the holidays was systemic marketing and consumerism. There was nothing about the Son of God becoming flesh so that he could dwell among us.
All I saw in Christianity were white preachers on tv and institutionalized religion. There was nothing about the love of God and his mission to reconcile unto Himself every tribe, tongue and nation.
I was conned into thinking that Santa was real, and many of us in the West have been conned into thinking that being religious is enough. We’ve been duped by religion in the same way that I was duped by Santa as a boy. We are nothing more than cultural Christians who maintain the worlds status quo. This looks vastly different than being radically committed to Jesus.
Religion tells us to go to church on Sundays.
Jesus commands us to be the Church everyday.
Religion tells us to do good works to earn Gods favor.
Jesus commands us to live on mission out of loving obedience.
Religion tells us to add lights and smoke to our musical performance on stage.
Jesus commands us to worship him with all our heart, soul and mind.
Religion tells us to vote for human rulers to fight for our Biblical values and personal rights.
Jesus commanded us to pray for His spiritual Kingdom reign in every heart and die to ourselves.
The Kingdom agenda, lifestyle and paradigm is completely counter cultural to how the world around us behaves…especially in our churches. It should upset every societal and religious status quo and turn us into rejected radicals. But sadly, what we display to the world as traditional Christianity is very different than how Jesus commanded us to live.
So let’s stop being suckas for religion. Let’s stop being suckas for Christmas.
Let’s seek out those who don’t have a home this Christmas. Let’s give to those who won’t be unboxing any Apple, Microsoft or Sony products. Let’s eat with those who won’t get candy canes or peppermint cookies. Lets journey with those who are still undecided as to whether this Jesus still matters. Let’s comfort those who have been burned by religion. Lets go to the millions of lost people around the world who have never even heard the name Jesus. Let’s tell them that Christmas is really about Jesus who came bearing gifts for them, knows how to pronounce their name and loves the color of their skin.
When you teach its real, it comes from the mud you were drug through so Jesus could wash you and people who saw your mud or were covered as well can see the new you. And see the need for them to be washed. Sometimes only the ones that know the mud…. know that you are clean.