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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Christmas Pause

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The Christmas Pause

A recent Lifeway Research poll had both promising and not so promising news. The good news was straight forward: More than 90 percent of Americans celebrates Christmas. On the flip side however, only 22 percent of those that rejoice and revel in the greatest event in all of human history could actually recall in detail what they are celebrating. Perhaps that explains why Thanksgiving is the most popular American holiday, according to another Lifeway Research survey.  Moreover, 17 percent actually claimed they could not recall anything about Christmas.

Where’s Linus from a “Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” who under the lights at the Peanuts gang Christmas pageant, schooled everyone in attendance when he quoted from Luke’s Gospel? 

Then again, that was 1965. 

As believers we need to assume Linus’s role in speaking the truth to power and with conviction as our secular world continues to shed itself from Biblical truth like a fur coat in the middle of August.

Maybe that is the answer.  The only way to pause wallowing in the temporal is to be touched by the eternal. As believers we need to assume Linus’s role in speaking the truth to power and with conviction as our secular world continues to shed itself from Biblical truth like a fur coat in the middle of August.

Our gift to humanity this Christmas is being the change we want to see. 

Christmas Special

In his classic tome, “Miracles,” British Christian apologist, C. S. Lewis, called Christmas “the central event in the history of the Earth.” This greatest of all miracles – the incarnation witnessed the one who is immortal taking on human flesh and embracing mortality. In a paradox for the ages, we celebrate His birth, but not His beginning. Lewis noted that “every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this.”

Many have yet to be transformed by God’s gift of himself. We are greatly lacking in trust. We do not live our lives as if we are definitively loved by Him who walks with us through our fallen humanity that is nothing short of an assured valley of death.

The yearly advent of Christmas brings with it an incredible opportunity to remind all of us that there are some things in life more significant than bulls and bears; more important than public policy debates and partisan politics.

In our overt secularized culture, the reality is Christmas has become more about us than humankind’s savior, Jesus Christ. 

The challenge is transformational and always has been.  Many have yet to be transformed by God’s gift of himself. We are greatly lacking in trust. We do not live our lives as if we are definitively loved by Him who walks with us through our fallen humanity that is nothing short of an assured valley of death.

Down through the ages and particularly among the prophets, we learn God is just and will set things right. But His ways are certainly not our ways. This is proven in how He entered into our humanity clandestinely as a helpless infant, born to a virgin teenage peasant girl in a distant outpost of the Roman Empire.

Down through the ages and particularly among the prophets, we learn God is just and will set things right. But His ways are certainly not our ways. This is proven in how He entered into our humanity clandestinely as a helpless infant, born to a virgin teenage peasant girl in a distant outpost of the Roman Empire in a world full of sin and hardship, confusion and violence. 

Sound familiar? 

The King of kings came to an imperfect people but with perfect humility as a baby in the womb. He willingly entered into our fallen humanity and transformed it, and doing so forever changed the world. For His coming brought light to the darkness. We, however, must be willing to accept this definitive Christmas gift. God redeems all He allows. He redeemed fallen humanity so we could be forgiven by His grace that “we might receive adoption as sons.”

Our sinful debt can only be paid for provided a human paid it. Enter Christmas, where the Creator submitted fully into the human condition, to be tempted, crucified and resurrected, but did so willingly and without sin. 

Surely, something to be grasped.

God came bringing light where before there had been only darkness. The darkness did not stop Him then, and it does not stop Him now no matter how chaotic this world is. No COVID variant or any federal CDC vaccine mandate can or will change this reality.

Surveying God’s creation, only human beings are made in His image.  Likewise, humanity was also given the gift of free will whether to obey or disobey God’s word. God came bringing light where before there had been only darkness. The darkness did not stop Him then, and it does not stop Him now no matter how chaotic this world is.

No COVID variant or any federal CDC vaccine mandate can or will change this reality. There is no one still reading this column that is any more mortal this week than they were last week. We still need God’s help and hope today, if not more so.  

Christmas offers the hope that cannot be found anywhere else. 

Since humankind could not come to God, He came to us.

Merry Christmas.

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Last modified on Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Greg Maresca | Remnant Columnist

Maresca writes from Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.