Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Jeff Heflin is an artist.
He is an artist who, this past Christmas, displayed his work outside the courthouse in Leesburg, Virginia. According to Heflin he wanted to show "society's materialistic obsessions and addictions and how it is killing the peace, love, joy, and kindness that is supposed to be prevalent during the holiday season."
And how did Heflin go about showing "society's materialistic obsessions and addictions and how it is killing the peace, love, and joy which is supposed to be prevalent during the holiday season"?
Easy. He got himself a Santa suit and sort of stuffed it. Where Santa's face should have been, artist Heflin put a skull face. Then he topped it off by nailing his sham-Santa to a cross.
Sarcastically I thought to myself: Yup, that's the kind of Christmas display which is guaranteed to bring back peace, love, joy, and kindness; it's the kind of art which is sure to bring happiness to the hearts of children and hope to all of humankind.
On a more serious note: I think Heflin got it wrong.
It's not Santa, nor Christmas commercialization that has robbed us of our peace, love, joy and kindness. We miss those qualities because we are sinners and we have sinful hearts.
This is why, if I were trying to provide a remedy to the problem Heflin was addressing, I think I'd do it a different way.
I think I would show a Baby... a special Baby... a perfect Baby -- a Baby who cared enough about our lost condition to be born into this world to offer up Himself as our Substitute. If I were an artist, I might incorporate into that scene certain vignettes from that Individual's life. For example, I might show how He was misunderstood, hated, persecuted and eventually murdered by the very people He had come to save.
Of course, rather than leaving Him defeated by death, it would be necessary to show this Person was the Victor and not the vanquished. Yes, if I were an artist, I would most certainly show that Person risen from the dead.
Finally, I would tell people that if you had faith in this Person, your life will be changed. I might say something like this: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."
That's what I would do if I were an artist ... or if I were the Lord.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, an artist may recognize our lives and this world are in a terrible state. If we wish to find a solution to that problem, we must be turned to the Savior. I pray that many may come to know that in Jesus we are created anew. This I ask in His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries