I was having some difficulty determining where to start, so I’ll just come right out with it. We live in a Christian culture that has largely turned pastors into celebrities and made celebrities their pastors, and it is landing us in cultural hot water. Recent headlines in the news, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram expose this. On one end, it seems that whenever a famous personality, no matter how worldly they may be, says the name “Jesus,” it’s automatically promoted by many Christians as though Jesus Himself was speaking. On the other end, if a pastor can motivate, inspire, and humor an audience all while maintaining relevance and a cutting edge style, he becomes the next big Christian star, often amassing for himself wealth and reputation all in the name of the work of Christ’s kingdom. Celebrities seem to consume us. This isn’t shocking seeing that we are natural followers. We tend to follow the people that appear on the surface to be who we want to become. For the Christian, this makes a strong case that Jesus should be the only one who reaches true celebrity status in our hearts.
Go into any store, restaurant, or other consumer establishments shortly after Thanksgiving ends, and you’re sure to hear familiar tunes over the bustling crowds that only show up once every year. In between “Jingle Bells” and “Silver Bells,” there’s a good chance you’ll hear no bells at all; there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself thoughtlessly humming along to the humble story penned in “Silent Night.” I say thoughtlessly not because you’re a thoughtless person, but because familiarity with something can often cause us to overlook its significance. How many hundreds of thousands of people sing “Silent Night” every year as part of their Christmas traditions, but ultimately skim over the jaw-dropping theological truths found hidden beneath the surface of those 19th-century lyrics?