Walking on the Emmaus Road at Christmas

Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Thursday, December 22, 2022

As we walk down the road to Christmas Day, may we as joyful disciples draw alongside the true Jesus, our risen Lord and Savior, and learn from Him as He tarries with us along the way. Yes, sometimes it is hard to see Him in the dimness of this dark world; but through faith, our Savior is as real to us as if we saw Him with mortal eyes.

Would you walk with me as we travel through this holiday landscape towards Christmas just as two disciples once found themselves on the road to Emmaus?

Perhaps, like those like-minded travelers, we are a little dazed and confused by the events of the season where Jesus Christ has been removed from much of the social scene and replaced with non-offensive symbols, empty traditions and generic spirituality. Oh, sure, Jesus is still remembered from time to time, but the figure of Christ that the world puts before our eyes is often so distorted that we do not even recognize Him anymore.

Who is this “TV Jesus” that speaks “cool lines” that are “theologically plausible,” but outside the inspired word of God? What are we to make of the “Transgender Jesus” that is defended by a Cambridge dean as a “legitimate” viewpoint? And why are people laughing at the “Meme Jesus” in social media who wears swag gear and sunglasses to make hip, coarse jokes?

No wonder people are losing the true joy of the season! Are we to believe that this common depression is solely due to a seasonal affective disorder during shortened winter days? Is it from unmet expectations of a romantic Hallmark Christmas that never materializes in real life?

More likely, as sincere believers, we are somewhat discouraged by the hype and idolatry that corrupts the very real and profound incarnation of our Lord and Savior and turns that joyous, historic event into the consumer-driven focus of tinseled pine, a jolly old elf, and a red-nosed reindeer. No wonder we sometimes speak to each other of spiritual weariness, melancholy, or confusion in the midst of this pretense. What happened to our once-clear view of Jesus Christ now obstructed by all these twinkling baubles in the world?

It is here that I find great comfort in thinking about the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, who were confused and saddened by what had transpired in Jerusalem with the unexpected death of Jesus. They, too, had momentarily lost sight of their Lord, but how gracious Jesus was to walk beside them in their hour of need.

Likewise, how marvelous it would be if the Lord Jesus would see us traveling along in a similar spiritual malaise this Christmas season and graciously draw near to us to ask, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”

Then I, like Cleopas, would answer Him, “Do you not see what is happening in these days?” And He would say to us, “What things?” And I would say to Him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the living God, who has been relegated to the icon of a plastic doll in a fictional nativity scene, surrounded by three kings of the orient, a drummer boy, and a talking ox; and how priests still deliver Him up to crucify him again and again to no avail. How can we still see the true Christ when the world has brought forth a Jesus of vain tradition that is too often confused with Santa Claus?”

And Jesus might say to us, as He did to them: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?”

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounds to us in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

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