Christmas reminds us that, to some of our “elite,” Jesus’ ultimate “crime” remains unchanged. Though two thousand years separate them, some members of the liberal elite of our own day, just as were the elite of his, are unwilling to accept Jesus admitting to being God.
In Chapter 22 of his Gospel, St. Luke recounts Jesus being brought before the High Council in Jerusalem. The following exchange sealed his fate:
“You are the Son of God, then?” they all said, and he replied, “It is you who say I am.” They said, “Need we call further witnesses? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”
Despite all the manufactured transgressions with which Jesus was accused, it was this direct question whether he was God, and his admission to it, that caused the elite of his own society to reject him.
As we confront an ever secularized Christmas, it is clear that some members of our own self-appointed liberal “elite” likewise reject Jesus because he is held to be God. However, for our elitists their rejection is not because Jesus’ admission offends their religious beliefs, but because it embodies a religious belief.
There is no shortage of room for Santa Claus, for nonreligious carols, for giving presents, and all manner of “seasonal celebration” at this time of year. In such a vein, Christmas is just good fun, and most importantly, it is not religious.
And there is no shortage of other secular “holidays” (though the derivation of that terminology from “holy days” must rankle some who stop to consider). Just the opposite! There is a veritable explosion of commemorative days — federal “holidays” and even more “recognition days” — such as Earth Day. Few people actually “celebrate” them at all — beyond a day off from work at the most extreme, to a bumper sticker at the spectrum’s other end.
If Jesus could just get with the program of not being God, there would not be a problem with manger scenes on courthouse steps at Christmas either. If his followers could simply accept him as just a man — a wise man, or a good man, or even a revolutionary man (preferably in the mold of Che’, not Washington), all would be forgiven. Our modern day elitists have plenty of room for men of any of these sorts — heck, Jesus would only need to be one, not all three combined.
The problem is that Jesus will not now, any more than he would two millennia ago. And because of it, it is just as clear that, were Christmas not already a holiday, a true Holy Day, some members of the liberal elite would fight tooth and nail to prevent it from becoming a federal holiday now.
The reason for this visceral rejection of Jesus as God goes well beyond just these elitists’ gross misrepresentation of the First Amendment’s establishment of religion language into something the Founders never intended: turning barring a state-sponsored religion into a state-sponsored barring of religion.
The real reason for these elitists’ rejection is their need and demand for relativism. If all things are relative, then all things’ value is arbitrary and must be arbitrated. In an endless range of shades of gray, things are to be ranked and shifted at will — i.e., their will. There is only a need for arbitrators to assign things their value. And of course, to these elitists, this is their role. The rest of us can just follow along as best we can and perhaps hope to fully understand later.
The problem with God is that God is anything but relative. God is absolute. Instead of these elitists’ mélange of gray, God is black and white. There is good and evil and there is salvation and condemnation — all done on God’s terms, not ours. There is no place in such a world for what these elitists imagine they do best and want to do most: redefine the world in their own terms.
This is not to say that such elitists will not tolerate religions. Just that, religions must know their place. These elitists are happy to see religions as cultural trappings, rather than expressions of God. Thus they are dismissed with a paternalistic pat on the head. For these elitists, religions are not about God, they are simply quaint.
There is no fuller demonstration of God as the dividing line for these elitists than their disparate treatment of Christmas with Easter.
These are the two most important holidays in the Christian calendar. The former is far easier for these elitists to secularize than the latter. Who cannot celebrate a birth? Everyone had one. Contrastingly, only one person could rise from the dead on his own. It is unambiguously the proof of being God. God is so plainly at the center of Easter, that it is impossible to separate him from it.
For Christians, were there no Easter, there would be no Christmas. For these elitists, there can only be Christmas, if they ignore Easter.
The world has changed much in the twenty centuries since Jesus, but some of our elites have not in one respect. How dare Jesus challenge their authority? Even in this age of elitism’s feigned tolerance there’s still one thing that won’t be tolerated: someone admitting to being God.