Christianity Has a Better Story

Adoration of the Shepherds
Adoration of the Shepherds by Dutch painter Matthias Stomer, 1632

After Thanksgiving the Christmas story begins to become popular again. Unfortunately, many have come up with new stories to replace the true story of Christmas. There is the desire to enjoy the “spirit of the season” rather than the reason for the season. There is no unifying story, but each person defines for themselves what the “true meaning of the holidays” is. There have always been competing stories in jockeying for the truth. Evolution is one storyline that many have bought into. In fact, evolutionary thought indeed demands that the old story of Christ’s birth change into something more useful for us today. Unfortunately, evolutionary theory is rarely ever set up for evaluation according to its own laws. When do we get to evolve from believing in evolution? But I digress.

That God came down born in human flesh to give to us a new story is where true joy is found. Evolution is a story where you are not an individual, but you are just a means to an end. You are not unique. You are not an individual worth keeping but you yourself are to die for the greater good of society. In evolution you are disposable, in fact your whole existence finds its final purpose in death.

The reality of Christ’s birth flips the sad story of evolution on its head. Humanity is not seen as a means to an end where you are sacrificed for something better. The opposite is true. The greater, Christ, was sacrificed for us, the unworthy. God was born in the flesh, in real time to forgive our sins and give us eternal life. We do not find our final hope in that our death helps further some ideal in the future, but our joy is found in that God gives you an eternal identity.

Evolutionary theory believes that there is some ideal in the future, but that ideal is never realized nor met. In the Christian story, the ideal, the perfect, the beginning (Alpha) and the end (Omega), Christ Jesus comes to us to show us we are not some means to an end that dehumanizes us but that in Him we are truly human. Humanity is not made “better” but made perfect.

Your life is itself meaningful and made righteous. Your sins are forgiven not by our human effort but accomplished by God and his work. Death is not your end but being made in baptism dead to sin and alive in Christ your eternal life is guaranteed.

Read the story of God giving his life for the perfection of the saints this Advent leading to Christmas. Read again in Genesis how God made them male and female perfect as individuals. That God made what is seen from what was unseen. How God blessed them and instructed them to be fruitful and multiply, not because God made a mistake but that he desired to partner with man and woman teaching them the joy that it is to be truly human.

Read the story of the fall into sin. How sickness, hunger and poverty are not just “natural” obstacles for us to overcome but are truly evil. That sin is foreign to God’s character.

Read again in the Christmas story how God overshadowed the virgin Mary and again created a perfect man Jesus. How angels sang and rejoiced because the end of death’s reign will be destroyed by the Christ child.

Read again how this new life is a gift not because we’ve evolved but that in Christ all our sins and sicknesses are removed.

As we mourn those who are not with us this Christmas, read again how in Christ the joy of eternal life cannot be taken away even by death. Hear the story again about the glorious family reunion we will have in the resurrection where we are fully born again in glory.

Rejoice believers, our story is better! Your identity is anchored in Christ. Your uniqueness is given to you as a gift to be enjoyed as you live according to God’s will. Your sin and death are not your end but the last enemy to be destroyed.

Our story is better, who would argue that a play portraying evolution is more cute than a children’s Christmas program? Who wants to sit through a play that’s millions of years long replaying the evolution of a bug into a lizard? Boring! Contrast that with children singing and memories of Wise Men with German accents or angel wing feathers stuck in the sanctuary carpet for weeks after Christmas.

Our story is better than any other story man can discover or make up. The story of Christ being born in Bethlehem is our story because God is gracious and kind and has brought us to Himself. Do not be afraid to speak of this story. To tell this story. To share this story. Evolution is evil when it tries to replace God. It is a wicked story that celebrates death. Your story is unique. Who you are is a gift of God that finds its completion in Christ. As John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ said, “I must decrease so that he would increase.”

When Christ increases in your life by hearing his word and receiving the sacrament faithfully, so will your joy increase, and no false story can take that away.

See you on Sunday and Wednesdays in Advent!

In Christ,
Pastor Ottmers