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serving jesus christ the king

We three kings of tedium are

The Americans have a saying when you ask them how they are, “Same old, same old” – meaning nothing much has changed. Christmas is a bit like that. Same old songs playing, same old carols, same old decorations, same old dinner.

I was talking to some fellow ministers the other day who find themselves taking round after round of carol services. They expressed something of the same sentiment – the same carols, the same readings every service, every year.

Then there is the usual outcry that society has removed Christ from Christmas; that Xmas is becoming more and more commercialised, and nobody stops to think about what it is all about. I suspect that it’s all related. Imagine that every year you went to a birthday party for a one year old – the same one year old every year. The first year or two it would hold its excitement, but after that you would start to get incredibly bored with it. You know precisely when the music is going to stop in “Pass the Parcel”, you know who is going to spill their juice all over the table, you know what will be in each present as they are opened, and the reaction to each present. A every year it would be the same – a sort of Groundhog Day for birthdays.

It strikes me that Christmas is the same. If your only contact with Jesus is the little guy in the manger – how utterly tedious it must be. Every year, there he is – same old story, same old carols about a kid in a cattle trough and three kings.

The problem is that Jesus has grown up, and we don’t let him. In our minds we’ve kept him as a baby. We’re forever stuck in a time warp, looping around endlessly on the same old things. And we get bored.

Why do we do it? After all what can be more amazing than the all-knowing, all-powerful, triumphant, creative, loving, wise, pure, sovereign, merciful, gracious, patient, compassionate and glorious God coming into the world on a mission to rescue and restore? How can that be boring?

The problem is that we don’t want Jesus to grow up – because when he grows up he makes demands of each of us. And we don’t like that, so we prefer to pretend that he is always in a manger, and then we find him boring. It is we who are the kings of tedium, not him. The solution is not found in working hard at celebrating the ‘real meaning’ of Christmas with more enthusiasm, but in getting to knowing this majestic grown up Jesus the 364 other days in the year.