To start things off, I would like to point out that the title, Merry Christmas, took 45 minutes of thought to come up with. That shows you my emotional state going into writing this piece:-) It was going to be “With a Song In My Heart – Merry Christmas,” but I deemed that too complicated and long. So instead, I am allowing the wonderful photograph to wish that sentiment your way, and just saying simply to you all, Merry Christmas.
I come into this Christmas in a strange place. I wonder and imagine a lot of us feel that way. As a nation we are collectively confused out of our minds. It has become so bad that we actually are having a national debate/fight over whether or not a young man playing sports should prominently display his faith in Christ. Really? That is what we should be so worked up over? Tim Tebow has managed to bring into clear focus the seething hate that resides among many towards the Savior that was born that wondrous day. Nationally syndicated talk-show host Bill Press went so far as to tell Mr. Tebow on air to “S-T-F-U about your Lord and Savior.” For those not aware what that means…”Shut the F$CK up about Jesus.” Once again…really? Bill Press, a man who made a ton of cash writing the best-seller “Toxic Talk” that scorns conservatives for poisoning the airwaves, comes out and says something like that? To a young man he does not know and is the absolute prototype of the type of person we dream our children to become? I don’t know Bill Press, so I’m not going to claim I know his motivations, but I found his actions repugnant. Not because I support Tim Tebow (which I do), but because there are SO many other things going on in this country right now that deserve that type of scornful hate. The entire political body of Washington, DC to start with. But instead, it is all getting zeroed in on Tim Tebow. This displays our physical health as a nation right now, and if a doctor was giving us a diagnosis, I am fairly certain we would be drafting our last will and testament.
I care about my country very deeply. I have traveled and have friends all over this great piece of earth, and I love it as much as I love myself. God created it and He created me, so it is a natural pairing. So this year I enter the Christmas season tainted somewhat with depression over where I see us headed. It is a qualified depression, because I am immensely aware of the larger picture that the birth of Jesus Christ brought to earth. I am going to be just fine. This much my God has promised me, and the blood of His Son has washed me clean and given me new life that shall be eternal. So does that reality allow me not to feel the responsiblity towards my fellow humans to safeguard and protect this country? No, it does not. Instead, it requires me to stand up and be accounted for. It requires me to speak up and speak out. The Kingdom of the Lord is coming sooner or later, but right now we are busy building that Kingdom, and the plight of Tim Tebow is a good marker as to where that construction stands. Given the hoopla, I feel we are closer than we know. If it happens right this instant it won’t be soon enough for me. But, we will not know until that time and we are to stay focused on building. Tim Tebow is lifting some mighty pillars and God bless him. Bill Press…I’m sorry bud, but the path you are going down isn’t going to turn out well for you son. The good news is that to see the light can happen at any moment to a man. My prayer for you is that you do indeed see that light. That choice is entirely yours and very much your business.
Then there is Christmas itself. My goodness…Christmas in America. It means so many things, most of them borderline insane, that any person of depth deeper than the kiddie pool is automatically left feeling at the least, melancholy. That said, Christmas is the centerpiece of American culture. It is vital to us as a nation in several ways of secular importance, and let’s face it, Christmas in America is generally a secular holiday now. That doesn’t bother me the same as it does many Christians. Yes, we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, but if you are already saved, you do that every other day of the year too. This day is just a set-aside day to acknowledge it, and at one time was even outlawed in portions of the country as being demonic. Christmas is not the untouchable behemoth it is made out to be. Jesus isn’t going anywhere and neither is the happening and meaning of His birth. Do you know why atheists and those of that ilk get so upset this time of year? For the same reason they get so upset with Tim Tebow. Because it represents Christ in a big and glorious way. A big shining beacon saying “come here and you will find truth.” “Come here and you will find peace.” That is why they hate and why they attempt to destroy. Have faith in your God. He is in control and their measures are merely a contrast to measure your own faith against. Are you strong enough to stand up for Tim Tebow? Are you strong enough to stand up and proclaim to all who know you that the birth of Jesus Christ brought salvation to this earth for all who ask? When people like Bill Press do the things they do, those actions give you the opportunity to do just that. If you shrink into the background and slink away, that should tell you something about your own faith. That is not for me to judge but for you to consider. As for me, I stand up for Christ until the day He brings me to Him. That will be a shameful humble moment for me. I shudder at the thought of standing before Him knowing the man I have been, and the sins I still have left to commit. But that fear will not keep me from Him. I trust Him. He told me he would wash me clean and I believe with my whole heart. That is what Christmas signifies and nothing else. Salvation from our own wretched selves. Thanks be to God.
So this Christmas in America in 2011, let a song enter your heart. The joyous music of the birth of the light of this world. Let joy flood you until you are drowning in it. Yet, be mournful and respectful of what we are doing with His creation. Be mournful of your own sinful nature and pray for continued growth at the same rate as the growth of the Kingdom. I feel that growth inside me. I hope you do as well. Our good deeds and our bad deeds do not save or doom us. The solution to that question was provided by the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. Our deeds, both good and bad, are merely carefully designed puzzle pieces of His plan. None of us better than the other. Tim Tebow no better than Bill Press. Gary Abernathy no better than you. We are only separated by how we respond to the given solution. Otherwise, we are all equal sinners in the eyes of the Lord. So I say again…let that song enter your heart. It is truly the only thing that matters in the end. Merry Christmas.