When I was a kid we lived in the projects. One day I bumped into a classmate and we decided to hang out. She went to ask permission of her folks while I waited a couple houses down.
A little girl ran down the block, tears streaming down her face. I asked if she was alright. She looked up as she passed by, sniffled, and went into her home. Her mom soon came out the door, looked both directions, saw me, and stormed over. She grabbed me by the arm and started shaking. “Tell me you’re the one who hit my daughter, or I won’t let you go”. I could feel her fingers digging into my flesh.
So I considered the options. And I lied.
She pushed me away, and stomped back into her house. Even as the pink finger marks and discomfort dissipated, the guilt from lying burned in me. I vowed never to give in that way again, no matter what it cost.
It cost plenty.
You stand against bullies, and get the stuffing knocked out of you.
You counter friends who pick the easy way out. They tear you down to defend their turf, and you lose a friend. It’s like a battlefield amputation. Messy.
Once we start choosing expediency over truth, it’s that much easier for expediency to win the next time. When we celebrate Christmas our tendency is the same. We blur the edges and soften the reality. Gifts are fun. Singing is wonderful. Babies are small, helpless, and cute. But the truth is, Jesus isn’t a baby anymore. He’s not “safe”. We serve a risen Christ, One who will judge the earth with perpetual and massive judgements. We belong to the God who created everything, a consuming fire. Not some helpless child, who needs a diaper change.