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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's A Star Wars Christmas This Year

The first sign that this Christmas was going to be a Star Wars Christmas came sometime around Halloween when the Star Wars merchandise went on sale. Of course, if you were shopping for kids, young or old, you had to pick up at least one such item. We did this for one of our grandchildren and the son in-law.

Now that the movie is out, the cycle is complete. Many will go see the movie throughout the Christmas season. And if you are like the son, you will see this movie multiple times. By the end of the Christmas season, the son will have seen this movie at least 5 times.

But we should notice something else here. That for many people, the significance of the newest Star Wars movie is the same as Christmas and Christianity in that it will be meaningful for some regardless of truth of the stories being told. In other words, that both would be regarded as fiction doesn't stop the stories from being meaningful to some. And that is fine when talking about stories that were written to entertain or teach us something. It is not good for the Christian faith. This is because for the Christian faith to maintain its intended meaning, it must be factually true. This includes the facts celebrated at Christmas.

What will stop people from believing the facts presented by Christianity? For some it will be Christians like myself, my family, and some of my friends. It will be because we are so busy at this time of year celebrating a Universal Christmas, a Christmas anyone can enjoy regardless of their belief in the Gospel, that people looking at us will become confused. They will be asking themselves this question: Which Christmas are Christians celebrating? Are we celebrating the birth of the Savior who came to deliver us from and die for our sins, or are we putting more effort into celebrating the Universal Christmas by what we spend on ourselves? 

Now I am not suggesting that we turn into the Puritans of old who persecuted those who celebrated Christmas. There is no need to exercise exclusive-or thinking here. Rather, what I am suggesting is that we observe how we celebrate Christmas to see which celebration is receiving more of our energy and involvement. With how we celebrate Christmas, are we more focused on the part of the Gospel story that explains why and how Jesus came to be born, or will be more focused on the gifts and food with which we will gorge ourselves.

At this point, I would like to refer to what might seem to be an unrelated quote by Martin Luther King Jr.  In his speech against the Vietnam War, King said the following:
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

With our belief in what Jesus did on the cross and what that means to our future after death, it would seem that we Christians should be the first to join the moral revolution to which King referred. We should be the first to be more concerned about people than about things; but unfortunately, that is not true. And because we have too often cared more about things than people, we have given others good reason not to believe historical facts of the Gospel such as how and why Jesus was born. And in doing that, we've made Christianity and the Gospel as meaningful to some as the newest Star Wars movie.   For by our actions, we've taught people that stories don't have to be true to learn from and be enjoyed.

As for King's moral revolution, for the world to change into a place that is not just survivable, but worthwhile to live in, his moral revolution is absolutely necessary. For without that moral revolution, no political structure such as Capitalism or Socialism can save us from ourselves.

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