How N.T. Wright Stole Christmas- Peter Leithart
Here’s a great article by Peter Leithart: “How N.T. Wright Stole Christmas“. Leithart highlights some of the problems with our traditional ways of thinking and singing about Christmas, and how the work of N. T. Wright can help to “re-Israelize” (yes, I just coined a term) our grasp of this holiday. Here’s how Leithart sets us his proposal:
Several years ago, when The Passion of the Christ was making headlines, I realized that N. T. Wright has spoiled every Jesus film. Once you’ve read Wright, you realize that none of the movies get Jesus right. Pharisees and scribes are reduced stock villains with caricatured Jewish features. Pilate has to make an appearance, and Herod, but we are given no sense that first-century Israel was the powder keg that it actually was.
No film ever gives us what Wright says we should be looking for: a “crucifiable” Jesus, a Jesus who does something so provocative to make the Jews murderously hostile. In the movies, Jesus is a hippy peace-child, a delicate flower of a man, a dew-eyed first-century Jewish Gandhi. Why would anyone want to hurt Him? Maybe because He’s so annoyingly precious; but that’s not the story of the gospels.
Just this year, I had another realization. N. T. Wright has spoiled Christmas too.
Leithart closes with a provocative suggestion:
I suggest a moratorium on new Christmas hymns, until we all learn the Magnificat and the Benedictus and the Nunc Dimittis so much by heart that they seep out our fingers at the keyboard, until we instinctively sing of Jesus’ birth like Mary, like Zecharias, like Simeon.
The short piece is worth reading in full.