Monday, December 21, 2015

Black, Blacker & Blackest Christmas (Every Christmas Is Black)

            The first Christmas was a black Christmas. Lamentation, weeping and great mourning accompanied Christ’s birth; children aged two years and under were ruthlessly massacred by King Herod.

            Today, Christmas is a joyful celebration. Churches and homes are colorfully decorated, joyful carols are sung and nativity scenes are enacted. Businesses enjoy the fruit of their labor; Christmas season fetches increased revenue. Christmas is all about goodness - good cheer, good food, and good company.

            The darkness that clouded the first Christmas has been successfully erased. Is Christmas trending in the right direction?

            Those asserting that Christmas is trending right would cite Christ as the greatest gift for the salvation of those who believe in HIM. Quite rightly so!

            For if God had not sent Christ into this world to save us, perhaps we would have been doomed to doing good works to earn our salvation. But doing good works can never be an option if God, a perfect being, is involved in the equation.

            Sin, an entailment of freewill, is innate in every human. So doing good works cannot be done to perfection. If good works cannot be done to perfection, salvation would perennially be uncertain.

            A maximally great being is perfect. An imperfect being cannot be maximally great. Completeness is innate in perfection, for perfection cannot be incomplete. In other words, corruption of any magnitude cannot partake in perfection.

            From a salvific perspective, God, the only perfect being, should demand existential perfection from HIS creation for coexistence in eternity. But humans cannot be existentially perfect because of our sinfulness. So our good works can never be perfect to meet God’s perfect standards. Therefore, God ought to make a way to enable sinful humans attain perfection.

            Salvation entails eternal coexistence. Heaven, the eternal abode for God and Christians, is perfect, for God can only exist in a perfect abode. But a perfect being cannot coexist, face to face (so to speak) with imperfect beings in a perfect abode. God can only coexist, face to face, with perfect beings in the perfect heaven.

            Perfection in an imperfect being could only be achieved by an uncaused perfect being, who is, in essence, a wholly perfect being (and there cannot be more than one uncaused wholly perfect being).

            Hence, God sent HIS son, the second person of the blessed Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ to be a perfect one-time sacrifice for the salvation of all mankind. Therefore, Christians, who believe in Christ as God and remain in HIM, will attain perfect glorious bodies after their death. This is a matter of great celebration. No doubts! So celebration during Christmas cannot be invalidated.

            But is Christmas trending in the right direction?

            While celebrating joyfully with our families and friends, are we ignoring the more important aspects of life? Although Christmas celebration cannot be faulted altogether, is our Christmas celebration qualitatively meeting God’s expectations?

            What does God expect of our Christmas celebration? What does the Bible teach us?

            The Bible mandates love. Love is the common denominator between God and man – God loved us while we were sinners to offer us salvation through Christ, and man should love God for who HE is and what HE has done.

            But that’s not it! True love for God is discerned in our love for our neighbors.

            So what would Christ want us to do during Christmas season? Very minimally, preach the gospel and help those in need.

            If our celebrations do not, in greater part, involve those in pain and need, then their Christmas would continue to be a black Christmas. If people around us remain in pain and suffering, then our celebrations would remain duplicitous.

            Christmas 2015 will be a black Christmas for many people around us. Their pain and suffering renders this Christmas black. Can we reduce the intensity of their pain and suffering through our love?

            Unless our neighbor’s suffering is predicated on money, it would be impossible to erase their suffering. God alone can erase suffering predicated on emotional turmoil and illness.

            But it is well within our means to erase our neighbor’s need for money. Some of us are charitable in nature and could well be helping those in financial need. But are we giving from our abundance or poverty?!

            In other words, are we giving till it hurts? Do we practice the “grace of giving” (cf. 2 Corinthians 8: 1-7)? While striving to alleviate poverty around us, unless we personally experience the pain of poverty, even to the slightest measure, through our giving, our giving would not meet God’s expectations. Unless our financial giving hurts us or unless we give beyond our ability, may we never be satisfied with our giving.

            This Christmas would be a blacker Christmas for those staggering under emotional turmoil. Many life situations cause emotional turmoil e.g. death of a loved one, conflict, failure etc.

            What could be done to alleviate their pain? Genuine and godly words and deeds of comfort and encouragement would offer our brothers and sisters much needed satisfaction that there are people who genuinely care for them.

            The blackest of black Christmas is reserved to those staggering under the effects of evil, pain and suffering in their lives but convinced with the intellectual answer to the question “Where is God when it hurts?” However, no amount of intellectual knowledge or consent to reasonable answers heals the deep wounds caused by evil; such is evil’s gory.

            Healing would only occur when evil in its crushing glory is eliminated from life and blessings are outpoured. Job’s life was a good example.

            But what if there is no healing in this life?

            So isn’t there a merry Christmas at all?                     

            Every Christmas is black
            Evil and suffering do not lack
            God mysteriously comes along
            Shows us HIS nail pierced hands which should have been ours all along
            I AM Immanuel, I AM with you, HE says
            Patience, strength and wisdom HE gives us to slay
            The darkness in Christmas
            When we pray HE floods us
            With peace amid pain, this Christmas
            For HE is Immanuel, God with us. 


Unknown said...

Nice poem :)

Raj Richard said...

Thank you, that was my very first try at a poem..glad you liked it :)