LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Monday, August 20, 2007

Christmas Card Christianity

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Christmas Card Christianity
by John MacMillan

One of the fond memories I have from my youth came during the closing weeks before Christmas when the mailman’s arrival meant another ten to twenty Christmas cards would be deposited in our box. Back then postage was cheap so it wasn’t unusual to receive that many cards on a daily basis. My mother would divide the cards between my sister and I and we would each enjoy the benefit of opening the envelopes entrusted to our childish hands. I think what I was drawn to most were the pictures on the face of each card. Images of reindeer, bells, snow laden chimneys and decorated trees held the attention and amazement of this young boy. Most of all, I think, I enjoyed the cards that displayed pictures of churches situated on hillsides, with snow carpeting the landscape, deer standing in the distance, a clouded moon lighting the sky and faint images of church goers singing favored Christmas hymns. To me that was a pristine picture of peace and joy. It was a colorful essay of harmony, tranquility and love; a treasury of things most absent in a world of sin. Maybe deep down that card represented what I was longing for most. Possibly so. I can’t say for certain what was running through my mind back then but I do know that those childhood Christmas images sufficiently reflect what I was longing for most as a young Christian some fifteen years later. It was my certain, though sadly disappointed, expectation that Christianity would unfold in my life like one of those prettied up Christmas cards. Having entrusted my eternal wellbeing to Christ and His most generous gift of forgiveness, I felt that my life would take a certain and obvious turn for the better. Like that snowy hillside, I felt that peace, love, joy, acceptance and lifelong tranquility would come as a natural consequence of my union with Christ. My marriage would be great, my life happy, my ministries successful and my love for Him and His church ever abounding. Miscarriages in life and love only come to those who are outside of Christ. These, foolishly so, were expectations created more out of my own personal desire than Scriptural and historical truth. Not surprisingly, my “Christmas card Christianity” was soon thrown to the rubbish like those cards once the Christmas holiday had passed. Christianity, at least on this side of eternity, was not to be enjoyed on clouds of ease. There would be many temptations, trials and losses (some horribly gut wrenching) that would rip my colorful and deluded expectations to shreds. After thirty one years of laboriously walking with the Lord I can say that the battle scars are still there. I have been disappointed in love, passed through valleys of depression and often brought to the point where peace seemed like a word of letter but without substance. I had come to the sad realization that “Christmas card Christianity” was as make believe as Santa himself. But, though I despaired, I did not despair as those who have no hope. There was a greater, far more profound reason for hopefulness. The Savior and His wonderful promise of eternal bliss are no fancied images of a child’s imagination. It is certain that in this life we will have our share of tribulation. But, be of good cheer. He has overcome the world through His resurrection triumphs and we, like our great Predecessor, shall be raised triumphant as well. The peace for which we all long for will one day be eternally ours. That is a cetainty that isn't as wavering as a child's imagination. Now, that is the best kind of Christmas cheer and one, I am certain, that will never be found on the face of a Christmas card.


Blogger donsands said...

It's good to hear others share their afflictions. This was an encouraging post. Thanks, I needed that.

August 20, 2007 11:56 AM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Good points. We should be thankful for our temporal blessings when they come, but they pale in comparison to spiritual blessings for those in Christ Jesus.

August 20, 2007 11:27 PM

Blogger Professor Howdy said...

Very good posting.
Thank you - Have a good day!!!


August 21, 2007 10:19 AM

Blogger only1way said...

Many thx for the comments. I suppose what amazes me most is how much stock we put in our expectations in so many different experiences of life. If we expect something to be so then it must be that way. The individual who led me to Christ had that kind of story book Christian life. He had a nice home in the country, attended a small, intimate country church, had a very loving wife and very responsible, honoring children. On top of that he always seemed --- well--- happy. Of course I thought, wow that's going to be my experience as well. Expected experiences you might say. Well it didn't quite turn out that way for me.For a while I was shell shocked because the candy I was expecting didn't taste quite so sweet. But then the truth hit home. I was expecting something from Aesop's fables that didn't really have any Biblical credibility at all. Some of life's lessons are just tough pills to swallow.

August 22, 2007 12:48 AM


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