The War On Christmas

I just want to quickly ask and answer two questions.

Is There A War On Christmas?

To some degree I believe the answer to this question is yes. Christmas is all about Jesus Christ coming to this dangerous world to rescue men and women from their sins. Biblically we know there is an adversary, Satan, who is hell-bent on stopping the work of Jesus and his church. So I think there can be little doubt that there is a spiritual battle to keep the true meaning of Christmas from being displayed and communicated in all its beauty and glory.

If you want some evidence that there is a spiritual battle going on against Christmas consider this overlooked story in Matthew 2:16-18. Jesus had been born and we see how Herod reacts to this news:

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,

weeping and loud lamentation,

Rachel weeping for her children;

she refused to be comforted, because they care no more.”

Part of the Christmas story is the tragic fact that there was a massacre of innocent children for the specific purpose of killing Jesus. Satan wanted, and would still like, to kill Christmas.

Are We Responding To The War On Christmas The Right Way?

OK, so from Scripture we see that the battle is real. But are we responding the right way? Unfortunately, I believe many times the answer to this question is no. When our primary weapons include anger, rage, venting, and arguing then we know that we have adopted man’s weapons for battle. Might I make a few suggestions?

  • We don’t need to complain about the X in Christmas.
  • We don’t need to post mean things online because a greeter at Walmart said “happy holidays” to us.
  • We don’t need to keep reminding people that it wasn’t like this in the good ole days.
  • We need to be aware that heavy doses of the daily news can make us angry at our culture instead of living as people of compassion and mercy.
  • We don’t need to lose our mind when coffee cups, department stores, and our culture in general has lost sight of what Christmas is all about.

The apostle Paul reminds us that we don’t use the world’s weapons for this spiritual battle. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 10:3) As followers of Jesus Christ we must keep our eyes on him and how he responded to this war. Think about this, as Jesus was being nailed to the cross he uttered these amazing words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)  Jesus loved, served, and ultimately was willing to die on the cross for this world. How should we then live?

The gospel reminds us that our greatest weapon is love. So this Christmas if we have a desire to see our culture more accurately reflect the true meaning of Christmas let’s lay down the world’s weapons and begin loving people in everyday life the same way that Jesus has demonstrated his love to us.

Politics and Misplaced Hope

There were a few Jews in the 1st century who were waiting for a Messiah to deliver them from their sins (Matthew 1:21); but the vast majority were longing for a Messiah to come in political power and to end Roman domination.

That is why when Jesus was incarnated as a homeless baby so many Jews failed to grasp that the kingdom of God had arrived. Come on, how could this guy lead an organized rebellion against the forces of Rome?

politics.jpgI’m thinking we are not much different today from the majority of Jews in the 1st century. I listen to so many of my brothers and sisters who are outraged by what is going on in our world and shake their fist at D.C. It would seem, just like in the days of Jesus, Christians today are expecting the kingdom of God to advance through political means. As I reflect on all this anger it leaves me with this simple thought, many Christians today have misplaced their hope.

I firmly believe that Christians should be engaged in every arena of life, including politics. But the hope of the nations is the same today as it was in the 1st century, Jesus Christ. Lest we forget, we the church are the body of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

So maybe all this angry rhetoric and hand-wringing we do about politics is a big, colossal waste of time. Perhaps it reveals something even more insidious, we don’t truly understand the gospel.

“If you are devastated or irate over the outcome of a presidential election, relax. Things will be okay. We only need, and already have, one Messiah. And he did not lose this election. If you are ecstatic about an election outcome, relax. Take inventory. We only need, and already have, one Messiah. And he did not win this election.” -Scott Sauls

In the gospel we see Jesus humble himself through the incarnation, live as a blue-collar worker, become a friend of sinners, extend grace and mercy, enter into the brokenness of society to bring healing. How do we look at the life of Jesus then come to the conclusion that we should spend our time fighting a culture war? If we truly understood the gospel we would spend less time blaming Washington and more time walking in the ways of Jesus.

Above pic taken from DNews

Addicted

I understand why people smoke. The hit, the drag, the pleasure. I get it.

I do the same thing a million different ways. A lustful image, coveting a bigger role in ministry, exercise, money, accolades, sports, performance, food, relationships and the list goes on. Maybe one more hit will satisfy.

Addictions come from the very core of who we are. We have empty and broken spaces in our soul. So we desperately try to fill up the dead places of our life to alleviate the pain, or perhaps to deal with the numbness. Seductive, tyrannical addictions are always present to fill in the gaps.

I constantly need to be reminded that Jesus is the only One who can fill up every area of my broken life and heart. Only Jesus can fill me with a pure, lasting pleasure that does not kill me in the end.

…the fullness of him (Jesus Christ) who fills all in all. -Ephesians 1:23 ESV