Post-Christmas Christianity

A lot of Christians seem quite concerned about the recent shift away from “Christmas” to “Holiday Season”, or what have you. My question is, have we missed the forest for the trees?

And I agree, it is a huge deal. Pulling Jesus out of Christmas is like snowboarding with no hill, snowboard, or snow. It just can’t be Christmas. Something else maybe, but not Christmas. A holiday. A happy holiday. Happy, but probably not too much joy. As an aside, I’m curious what parents will be telling their kids in a few years – “Only 30 more days until…the…wait for it…holiday!” The Happy Holiday. Now that’s catchy.

Now who’s the great enemy? Is it our enlightened, tolerant, non-offensive post-modern culture? Is St. Nick our nemesis? Is it commercialism? I say no.

So, what is the issue with our modern Christmas, or Happy Holidays, if you will?

Quite simply, often our Christianity looks a whole lot like me, me, me. Me trying harder, me doing better, me being good, me having victory, me struggling, me failing. Me. Me. Me. So why get upset about one day when we’re stealing the other 364 from the King of the universe as well?

It’s all about Jesus. Christmas. Christmas Eve. And every single day in between.

So let’s relax about getting Christ in Christmas, and see if we can’t first get him back into our Christianity. Because without Jesus, Christianity just isn’t Christian.

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Post-Christmas Christianity

Jesus & Toothpaste

It seldom happens [as I’m usually (actually this isn’t true) rushing to beat my insanely fast toothbrushing sweetheart at teeth brushing. I wander, meander, stall, and mindlessly roam about and haven’t even gotten past my first ‘section’ of teeth before she’s done. Come to think of it, I think she can LOAD UP her toothbrush, wet her toothbrush (which is backwards, it’s so much nicer when you wet, than load up), brush her teeth and rinse in the same amount of time that it takes me to hold my toothbrush under the tap to get it nice and wet.] that I have a moment of inspiration while brushing my teeth, but it happened. Here’s somewhat how it went, with a bit of writers’ drama added.

“What if Jesus would’ve tapped into His God attributes while on earth and came up with toothpaste that really, actually, totally worked? Goodbye dentist (Yahoo! [not the Google-ish thing]) kind of toothpaste. He’d take a look at the ingredients, scoff (but probably not), and say, “How about you try this, and this, and a bit of this, and a bit of that? I think you’ll find it works a little bit better.”

Come to think of it, did they even have toothpaste back then? Probably not.

My thoughts went on. “Imagine how different the world would be if Jesus would’ve pulled out His “Godness” to help us create stuff. BOOM. “This is called the “Jesus Computer”. It never crashes (the Windows dig), and you can actually afford it (the Apple dig).” Or take air conditioning. You know, you guys look fried. Voosh, solar powered AC. Ahh. Or maybe in the temple He sometimes thought, “Haha, these scrolls are so dated, I’d just love to show them an Ereader (Santa, are you listening? Kobo Glo!..Korey thoughts here, not Jesus’).

He could’ve made a fortune. Imagine the kind of entrepreneur Jesus could have been! “I bet people, camels, and donkeys would love cars. Let there be cars and wide open roads. Hmm..the speed limits and marble floored insurance companies can come in 2000 years. Nice.”

“Guys like the Apostle Paul are going to love my ASASB (Anti-Storm Anti-Sink Boat).”

“Cotton Candy would sure beat Olives.” (or just about anything else)

“I’ll put the scribes out of work with my Heidelberg Printing Presses”

“I’ll become an actor, I’ll start a band, I’ll write books, I’ll be a vet, I’ll be a doctor, I’ll be an inventor.”

But what DID Jesus do? He gave His life for a sinner like me.
That is utterly, astonishingly amazing.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

Jesus & Toothpaste

Our Desires Aren’t Too Strong, But Too Weak

Are Christians really settling for less? Is the life of one who trusts in Jesus one who is limp-wristed, undriven, easily manipulated, and..well…dumb? C.S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory (which I have not read, yet), shared this great insight:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 

I love that quote. It stands in the face of what our world’s great lie. Our toys and trinkets are a few years away from landing in a landfill. There’s more to be had, yet for some reason, I tend to think following Jesus means losing, and I forget all the getting. Desires are great when they’re channeled towards what is good and right. More accurately, the One who is Good and Right.

How easily my affections are stirred towards what is broken.

Have you read Ecclesiastes lately? “Everything is meaningless”, from the lips of the wisest man on earth, the man who threw parties that we can’t even imagine, the man who seemingly spared himself from no pleasure he desired – found in the end that it wasn’t enough. Foolishly we think our laughable attempt will produce a different outcome.

God save us from our foolishness.

Chris Tiegreen’s “Walk With God” says:
“The good thing about Ecclesiastes is that it sends us in search of a Savior. In its cold, hard assessment of who we are, it drives us toward the only One who can remedy our situation… No human being can live up to the expectations we have. No one is righteous enough.”

So even people let us down.  “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”  Chris writes: “every human being has the potential, even the probability, of letting us down”.

Desires. I’ve get them, you’ve got them. Expectations seem to be what drives our world.

Great expectations. One great, sure hope. Jesus.

Strong desire. Nothing less will do.

 

 

Our Desires Aren’t Too Strong, But Too Weak

What if…

The world were driven by karma?
What if what you do in this life really carries into your life in the next?
What if today I’m suffering my just punishment for my evil in my former life?
What if you helping me today is actually injustice towards me because you are helping me escape deserved and necessary punishment, and to be rescued only means more payment in the future.
What if to help was unthinkably cruel?
What if I believed this?

I would be Untouchable.

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What if…

Walk With God – to be continued

A couple of Christmas’s ago I received Chris Tiegreen’s book “Walk With God” from my then girlfriend’s parents, now my in-laws. Historically, I haven’t found devotional books overly useful, but that’s probably a reflection on my spiritual immaturity just as much as on the books. This one, however, seems different to me. I’ve been going through it, and it’s great. Simple to read, profound, hard hitting and thought provoking. I’m a highlighting, underlining kind of guy, and pretty much every single page of this book so far has deserved some marking up – love that!

For this post I’ll just give you some lines, straight off one page from a few days ago.

“We serve an unpredictable God. He is not unreasonable, and He is not inconsistent, but He is unpredictable. No human has ever fathomed Him ways. As much as we try to make the spiritual life of discipleship a formula – and check out the shelves of your local Christian bookstore if you don’t believe we have done that – God will change directions on us. Why is that? Does He enjoy being elusive? Does He like to taunt us by always staying out of our reach? No, God does not tease…

He is not a formula…

He does not let us get into a habit of obedience-by-memory that does not engage the spirit…

We cannot memorize Him, we cannot learn His principles apart from His person, and we cannot substitute His Law in place of His Spirit…

The disciple who says, “The God who led me five miles yesterday will lead me five miles every day,” does not know the God he serves. He’s into religion, not faith. There’s a huge difference.” ”

Hard to get a grip on? Yes. Beautiful? I think so.

kf
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Walk With God – to be continued