Columnist: My Christmas wishes for you
Published 12:00 am Monday, December 21, 2015
Just as a decreasing majority would do and as countless cards say I wish you and your family a “Merry Christmas.”
That said, I sadly realize that as we become more politically correct and fewer profess Christianity I should wish you “happy holidays.” However if you will indulge me, I want to go a lot further with my Christmas wishes. If that initially offends you what do you have to lose if you read this?
All of us have opinions about God, creation and the Christmas message including that none of it is true. However, regardless of your worldview it requires faith, so let’s dismiss this silly notation that “faith is for the weak and deluded.”
That said, I realize that many of us are what we call ourselves because that is how we were raised. Therefore, my wish for all of us is to watch less television, cut out a few postings on Facebook, work a few less hours, read fewer inconsequential books and make a few less calls.
With this new found time may you claim what you really believe by reflecting on what you believe about God, why, and to prayerfully examine the claims of Christianity from the Bible, church fathers and the evolution of God’s church. Perhaps, as happened to some well-known people who set out to disprove Christianity, you will be overcome by its truths and be transformed.
For increasing numbers of people who do not believe in any religion, my wish is that as you feel a tug while listening to a traditional Christmas song, have a sudden wave of compassion or look at the full moon Christmas night and wonder how it came to be that you will dwell on that moment and ask yourself, do I really have the answers? Why settle for a small view of life? Instead, study the “evidence that demands a verdict,” quoting a book title, for an intellectually sound proof for Christianity.
Since many have given little thought to what they call themselves, more are now saying so in response. The percentage of those surveyed about their religious affiliation that respond “none” has continued to grow.
Today, a third of those under the age of 30 so answer and for all adults it is 20 percent. What is encouraging is that many of these people say they are spiritual and believe in God. If this describes you, my wish is you get serious about that claim.
Many call themselves Christians but in reality are “nominal Christians.” One definition of that is “one who says he/she is a Christian but does not possess a trusting, faithful and dependent relationship with Jesus.” My Christmas wish for you if this definition fits is that you continue to search in prayer, listen for that “still small voice,” read the Bible, get involved with a church and read some of the great classics of Christianity such as “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.
Some of you are “two-chapter-gospel Christians,” which says you see your “salvation as a bus ticket to heaven.” Those at the other end of this spectrum could be described as “so heavenly oriented that they are no earthly good.” My wish for anyone in this spectrum is to prayerfully consider that you are living in the Kingdom of God now and to ask God what He wants you to do here and now.
There are many working poor who are statistically classified as being in poverty. However, “they participate in the life of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and thus have a full and abundant life.” Let their lives show us that true poverty is the absence of such a faith.
Having lost a son at age 20 in an automobile accident, even now Christmas is a difficult time as it is for many others who have lost someone special. My wife and I have said to many who have asked us how we coped that fond memories, wonderfully supportive family and friends and faith are key, but of these three faith is the most important. Therefore my wish for those grieving this Christmas is to do likewise and as for faith pray and spend time in the Word.
I have been blessed by many whose Christ-centered lives have inspired me to a deeper relationship with my Lord and Savior. To them I say thanks and for you I pray that you have such a group in your lives.
“Joy to the world! The Lord has come!”