Summary: If the X-factor is about uniqueness then remember that the birth of Jesus was unlike any other birth and Jesus was unlike any other baby who came into the world.

Its finally almost here – after weeks and weeks of waiting, after weeks and weeks of eager anticipation, after weeks and weeks where the excitement has grown and grown, after weeks of hype - It’s finally so close you can almost taste the excitement in the air.

Of course you all know what I’m talking about….. Yes – it’s the X-

Factor Final!

Opening sequal of X Factor

I’m sure we are all very familiar with The X factor. Love it or hate it – it’s a show that travels all over the UK looking for the next big star – a show that goes around looking for people who have that special something. And hopeful ‘wannabe’s’ que up in their thousands to perform in front of four (criminals) judges – Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh, and Sharon Osbourne – and these four judges then set out to destroy the contestants hopes and dreams and aspirations, one by one – and usually with very good cause.

Six million people tune in to watch the show every week – Why? Why do people find it such compelling viewing? Some probably watch in the hope of seeing real musical talent, they watch in the hope that they will witness the discovery of someone who actually has the X-Factor: that authentic, indefinable star quality. Others – no doubt are attracted by Simon Cowell – ‘Mr X-Factor’ himself. A man who is often rude, critical, debasing, and condescending toward the hopeful wannabe’s. Simon Cowell learnt very early on that being hated can make you just as much money (if not more) as being loved.

Why do so many people apply to The X-Factor, given the near certainty of rejection or ridicule? What is it that makes contestants risk everything in their attempts to win? If I’m honest, I think it’s because The X-Factor claims to fulfil some of our deepest human needs.

In an age when everybody is a nobody, the X Factor offers to make us a somebody. In a culture dominated by criticism and judgement, the X-Factor offers the hope of approval and affirmation. So rich is the show’s promise that they actually use religious imagery. In the opening credits a great X appears in the sky and descends in glory into London – it’s as if we are about to see heaven itself pouring out its best on the chosen one. That’s why the contestants are so motivated: for them, everything in the world is at stake.

Searching for the X-Factor

Many people will go through life looking for that something special, looking for that bit that they know is missing deep down inside. Looking for the X-Factor that will make everything perfect, everything whole, everything complete. That one thing that will fulfil all of our needs, all of our ambitions, all of our dreams.

Does anyone really have the ‘X-Factor’? What even is it? If we had to define it, we would perhaps say that The X Factor is that ‘unidentifiable quality that a person has that makes them unique, that makes them special or exemplary’. To a certain degree I suppose you could argue that Athletes have the X Factor, you could argue that entertainers have the X Factor, you could argue that business entrepreneurs have the X Factor. It might be hard to fully describe what it is - but we definitely know it when we see it.

The Xmas Factor

I do think that it is interesting that in the opening credits of the X Factor they show the X coming down out of the heavens and landing here on earth. Because for me, that brings something else to mind. For me, it brings to mind the story of a God who left the heavenly realms and came to live on earth as a human being. And you know, here in the Western World, we are very good at taking God out of the situation and putting X in his place. That’s what we do every year when we change Christmas to Xmas. We take God out of the celebration and because of that, instead of love, joy and peace to all men, in its place we get greed, self-indulgence, and large overdrafts instead.

Jesus - The Xmas Factor

But this morning I want to take the X back out of the Xmas Factor, and put God back in his rightful place. I want to stop thinking about the X Factor, and start thinking about the God Factor.

If the X-factor is about uniqueness then remember that the birth of Jesus was unlike any other birth and Jesus was unlike any other baby who came into the world.

The nativity story

We’ve just heard the story of the first Christmas through the readings, the carols and pass the parcel.

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