“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – St. Paul (Romans 5:6-8 ESV)
A very merry Christmas to all of you — and thanks for your reading and commenting this year. A conversation falls apart if only one side is there, so I want to make sure you know I appreciate your lending me your attention.
Christmastime is here with all of its longing and all the ache of unfulfilled hope. It can be a time of unparalleled joy — a real rip — but for many people I know, the season is a mix of high and low. This is something of a choice, and I want to challenge you and me to focus on the tremendous upside that is Christmas.
I am not talking about a new guitar (ahem), outdoor gear, or any present under the tree. Instead, I challenge us to look beyond the reactive trappings to see the reality that set all of them in motion. Here’s my video message to you:
In my short life, I have seen the world deliver the message repeatedly that we’re on our own. It isn’t true. Christmas proves it. It can be hard to see underneath the advertising and the desire to strip the season of its spiritual significance, but the substance of it is there if you have eyes to see it.
What if it’s all make-believe after all?
I assure you it isn’t, but consider the following. In C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair, Puddleglum the Marshwiggle is fighting off the enchantment of the green witch who has enslaved the prince and taken him and his young charges captive. As he extinguishes the witch’s magic fire with his foot, he delivers the following:
“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”
So let us live like Christmas people and celebrate the God who came to demonstrate His love for us by laying down His life for you and me. Merry Christmas!