“It's time to take baby Jesus out of the manger.”What’s your reaction to that statement?
Well, this was the solution offered by comedian Stephen Colbert in a recent satirical (and "weirdly prophetic" as my friend Ryan suggests) tirade on the meaning of Jesus and Christmas.
You can watch the whole clip here.
I think Colbert’s main point is this: wherever people fall on the Liberal/Conservative spectrum, most define Jesus how they want him to be. And often such descriptions of Jesus create environments of exclusion where the very people Jesus talks so much about (poor and needy) are excluded from our telling of the Christmas story. So why not replace Jesus with “something that’s easier to swallow” Colbert proposes with tongue fully in cheek (something Christians are often guilty of already). In a world where so many are left out, Colbert’s conclusion, while humorous in presentation, is chillingly honest and incisive in its truth:
“Either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are; or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition. And then admit, that we just don’t want to do it.”
Sad, but in many cases true. Colbert’s is a refreshing honesty in a world of sanitized feel-good religion.