The Western world, including many of those who consider themselves Christians, has turned Christmas into a bland holiday of mere niceness. …
Some people think you can take Christ’s “teachings” and ignore his miracles as if they were fables. But this is to confuse the Sermon on the Mount with the Democratic Party platform.
The natural reaction to Christ is to reject him. He said so. In fact, when he was taken to the Temple as an infant, St. Simeon prophesied that he would be a center of contention. Later he predicted his own death and told his followers they must expect persecution too.
He expects rejection.
Chief among his teachings was his claim to be God’s son: “I and the Father are one.” “Nobody comes to the Father except through me.”
His teachings are inseparable from his miracles; in fact, his teachings themselves are miraculous. Nobody had ever made such claims before, enraging pious Pharisees and baffling his pious disciples at the same time. After feeding thousands with the miraculous loaves and fishes, he announced that he himself was “the bread of life.” Unless you ate his flesh and drank his blood, he warned, you have no life in you.
This amazing teaching was too much. It cost him many of his disciples on the spot. He didn’t try to coax them back by explaining that he was only speaking figuratively, because he wasn’t.
He speaks literally.
Christians shouldn’t resent the natural resistance of those who refuse to celebrate his birth. In their way, those people are his witnesses too.