Although my friend was delightfully feminine in all her ways, and loved sharing about how the Lord was ever growing her as a godly woman, she never assumed that all women had to look like her, act like her, do ladies’ devotionals like hers, bake like her, dress like her, adopt orphans like her. That was a good thing, because I was so very different than she, mostly in all of those ways! How she managed to influence me so deeply, despite our differences, was in the manner she placed the whole of her confidence and trust in the God of the Scriptures.
Visitations from angels announcing the coming of a Prince, a Savior, the Son of the Most High fit nicely into the storybook magic of a childhood Christmas memory, and provide great material for Christmas pageants and Christmas eve services, but what relevance could they have for 21st century, thinking Christians who have been marinating in determinism and secularized scientific methodology for most of their lives? The answer? It all comes down to love and hospitality—two towering virtues associated with Christmas.
It’s so uncomfortable being thanked for attending a funeral.
Fleshly desires are a powerful lot, intrusive, manipulative, and deceitful. At this time of year, they are especially compelling when driven by the idolatry of “the perfect Christmas.” She who would be victorious over them cannot just “remember the reason for the season” or “keep Christ in Christmas” or “believe”, still craving something more, something better.
There is no room in the inn for both the cravings that fester in and erupt out of a heart of unbelief and ingratitude and a desire for Christ. If, like me, at some point in the craziness of this season, you look around you and realize your flesh has been ruling the conduct of your heart, come back to Jesus.
When we face famine and disease, loss of loved ones, disaster, brutal conditions, do we cling to an otherworldly view of this life, an understanding that this is not all there is, that we’re passing through to God’s better country?