She was weeping, frustrated. “I was just having a good time. I didn’t think a drink or two would hurt.”
I had a couple in counseling. The husband had come to me, because he was convinced that his wife was being unfaithful. Now she had come in and had confessed that something had happened. Something for which she felt guilty, but somehow not responsible... It was the beer...
Time and time again there is a naive assumption that alcohol is an essentially harmless agent for amusement. “Mistakes are made with it to be sure, but it is the consumer that is the problem, not the drink.”
Limits are placed on the amount that anyone can consume and operate motor vehicles. Limits are placed on the age at which one can legally be served alcohol in licensed establishments. Limits are placed on which locations can legally serve. Despite these safeguards, innumerable lives are lost or destroyed, because of alcohol, every single day.
And yet, a sentimentality pervades the world-over that pushes the myth of the harmlessness of alcohol. “That could never happen to me...”
That kind of naïveté or sentimentality is always dangerous. We must never forget the truth. When we forget the truth we forget its cost.
Matthew’s telling of the Christmas story is very important for us. It helps us to remember the truth; the cold, hard, scary truth. God’s incarnation in this world came at a terrible cost. The evil authorities of this world, that wanted to maintain the status quo by silencing Jesus before he could challenge the evil in charge. That Joseph was called to flee out of his country and live as a refugee to protect his family, should not be lost on us. That the family of our Lord had to settle in a place that was not their home, should not be lost on us. Jesus’ birth meant the death of thousands of children. Jesus’ coming into the world, meant that an entire generation of parents would mourn the loss of the innocents. All of this had to happen, because God loves us. Christmas is not a merely vacuous holiday, filled with sentimentality, but a commemoration of the profundity of God’s love for us. All of it, because God loves us.