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A Christmas Like the First One

Posted by Axis on December 25, 2020

Listen to this week's issue of The Culture Translator  on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts

Three Things This Week

1. Bring on the LOLs (and the $$$)

What it is: A YPulse report (paywall) showed that when it comes to brand-based content, Gen Z is most likely to enjoy comedy posts.
Why it confirms what we already knew: In general, it can get weird (paywall) when brands act like people online (or as digital marketers call it, “brand humanization”). For some reason, brand content that’s funny is often regarded as more appealing than brand content that aims at humility, compassion, or authenticity. What’s more, Gen Z goes to different platforms to meet different entertainment desires, as demonstrated by YPulse’s data. TikTok is where teens go to watch dancing (so brands post dancing), Instagram is where teens go to watch celebrity content (so brands there team up with celebrities), and teens go to YouTube for gaming and esports information (so that’s where those brands advertise). It’s an ecosystem Gen Z understands as well as the brands that target them.

2. Wonder Woman Says She's Here to Save Christmas

What it is: Gal Gadot, star of Wonder Woman, announced that Wonder Woman, 1984 will  stream on HBO Max and also show in movie theaters (if you can find one that’s open), beginning on Christmas Day.
Why it’s probably about what you’d expect: The reviews of the hotly anticipated latest entry to the DC canon are mixed. Some critics say it’s pretty good. Others find it as vapid and forgettable as Gal Gadot’s other big 2020 release, the cringey Imagine sing-along mash-up video she put together (paywall) in March. While at press time we’re not privy to the entirety of the film, go in prepared for the same level of romance, action, violence, and suspense contained in the first Wonder Woman (which wasn’t exactly gritty). Even with its PG-13 rating, this is a film that won’t feel comfortable for every family’s viewing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have something to offer for action-film lovers and older teens.

3. Facebook's Thumbs Down

What it is: Facebook will now notify users if they share what’s deemed to be misinformation about the coronavirus on its platforms.
Why it’s just going to make people mad: Facebook has been trying for some time to “combat” misinformation shared on people’s pages. In August, Facebook started to flag misinformation with a disclaimer label to warn people about what they were sharing. They also started pulling posts down at a rapid rate. But there’s nothing to indicate that these steps have really stemmed the tide of misinformation, mostly because it’s practically impossible to understand the rubric Facebook uses to decide what’s true and what isn’t. In a dynamic situation like the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook has come to equate unpopular information with misinformation, which means that anything they do will simply stir up controversy instead of correcting the problem.

Spotlight: Thousands of parents have seen their relationships with their kids be transformed through reading The Culture Translator. It’s amazing how taking the time to understand your teen’s world can change things! But the CT runs on donations from generous people like you. So if you’ve been helped by what we’re creating here each week, we’d love to ask you to thoughtfully consider joining the Axis Legacy Club with a monthly donation. By partnering with us on a monthly basis, you’ll be empowering even bigger goals for helping parents connect with their teens. Click here to make a monthly gift, and may God bless you and your family for your generosity!

A Christmas Like the First One

However you’re celebrating, or whatever today looks like for you, we want to sincerely wish you a merry Christmas—even if it looks and feels a little different this year. Though lights still twinkle and garlands are still hung, the shiny decorations and Zoom celebrations may only punctuate how strange and hard this whole year has been. Coca-Cola tells us that this Christmas can still be magical (and we admit, this ad is heartwarming), but what if those nostalgic, cheery and bright emotions are harder to find this year? If Christmas isn’t looking exactly how we hoped it would, how should we respond?

Roughly 2000 years ago our savior Jesus was born‚ and born into a world that looks a lot like ours right now: dark, confused, and weary. We tend to forget that at that time, Israel had been grieving God’s silence for 400 years, enduring foreign oppression, and aching for a Messiah. There was darkness all around with no end in sight. 

Advent, the season of remembering Christ’s first coming while longing for His second, is about holding expectation and reality together. We long for a beautifully redeemed world because things are still broken, both in the world and in ourselves. Jesus’ first Advent brought redemption and salvation, but we need Him to come back to finally restore all things.

In a way, Christmas in 2020 taps into the ache and desperation behind the first Christmas in a way “normal” Christmastime can sometimes miss. The typical holiday frenzy is diminished. We see lack, emptiness, pain, and the need for God to come and be with us. Though things may not be exactly the way we want them to be, we invite you to pray today for grace to notice God’s presence in midst of the chaos, grief, or wherever else you find yourself. We pray with the prophet Isaiah, calling on Christ, who is our Dayspring: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.” Whatever else your day involves, we pray you experience an awareness of Christ’s presence among you and your family. None of this, after all, is unfamiliar territory for Him.



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