The Glorious Impossible

Nine years ago this past week my wife was given six months to live. On the same day that we received that diagnosis, I lost my job. I spent the afternoon exhausted, sitting in mud, cradling my one year old in the rain, while I cried. Having left the hospital to get my child from day care, I was too exhausted to get up and go inside. It was a Christmas to remember.

My wife and I sat in her hospital room that night contemplating life without her, life without my job, life as a single parent, and life for my child who would be both motherless and without memory of her mother. Christmas was the last thing on our minds. Late that night, having talked in ways you will never talk to your spouse if they are not dying, the doctor came in and told us that the original diagnosis was uncertain and they were going to have to send a lung biopsy they had taken off to experts.

I still have my wife. She was not dying after all. I still have my job too, though it has evolved and morphed into something I never foresaw or expected. That Christmas was an overwhelming time, and Christmas can be so overwhelming for so many people. At the end of the year we have accumulated worries, burdens, and fears. We have stress about gifts, money, family, shopping and cooking.

From personal experience, I can tell you that sometimes it is better to not focus on yourself, but to help someone else. Our natural temptation is to bunker down in a well of self-pity and doubt, to tell no one, and to feel overwhelmed. If you are weary and heavy laden this Christmas season, I have been there. I have fallen to a low I never anticipated, only to be lifted right back up again. Wallowing in the misery is neither helpful nor beneficial. There are others out there willing to share the burden and there are others at lower places than you. Turning to help others at Christmas is the best prescription to get out of any funk you may be in.

But there is another too who can share your burden. This Christmas, as commercialism and secularism set in, we should not forget what the holiday is all about. More than two thousand years ago, a baby was born in a manger. The people of the age expected a mighty king who would wear a golden crown and rule with iron fists. Instead, we got an infant born in a stable surrounded by animals. The first witnesses to his birth were shepherds, who were of such a low station in life, their testimony was not even accepted in courts of the day.

That is the glorious impossible to which we should all be amazed. The Christian faith is a faith of miracles and blessings and grace. We worship a child born of a virgin who was tortured and crucified, died, was buried, and then rose again. It is an impossibility, yet we believe by faith it happened. We have the testimony of men and women in ages past who were willing to go to their deaths proclaiming Jesus as their Lord.

The odds are at this Christmas season you are not going to be tortured or beheaded for your faith. While it is happening abroad, we are blessedly exempt here from those horrors right now. But Christ the Lord does reign and was born and does live. Your Christmas burdens can be cast onto him and he will carry your burdens and even carry you.

Christmas is a restoration. In the Garden at the fall, God no longer walked among men. In a manger in Bethlehem at the fulcrum point of history, God walked with us again and will walk with you if you ask. History before Jesus’s birth pointed to him and history now yearns for his return. As you get overwhelmed this season with heavy burdens, there is one who history points to who will share your burden if only you will ask. Merry Christmas.

To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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The Angels’ Sound

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” Luke 2:13-14 (ESV)

Have you ever wondered what that angel song sounded like? Were the angels singing the sound of Beethoven’s Ninth with booming drums and crescendo surrounded by deep bass voices elevated by sopranos and altos? Or was it a concerto styled like Mozart or a lullaby from Brahms? Was it other worldly? Did it lift the souls or send chills down the spines of the shepherds who had to be told, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Was the heavenly host composed of a choir? Was there a solo, were there instruments, did it sound like something we would know or appreciate? Maybe it was otherworldly. Perhaps it was relatable to the music of the day and would be something else entirely were it to happen today. Created in the image of God, mankind has a sense of aesthetic. We can tell when something is good or bad. I do not mean like a dog who likes the beef and carrot food, but not the chicken and rice food. I mean we know intrinsically that something, though it may not be to our personal taste, is beautiful and glorious. Music is one of those things.

The Heavenly Host sang. They related great joy and a miracle through a song in the heavens appreciable to the ears of mankind. We do not know the rhythm and meter. We do not know if there were soloists or instruments. We do not know how long it lasted. But we know the angels sang with great joy over the restoration of Immanuel. We had walked in the garden with the king then, after exile, could do it no more till then. God had come back and it was time to sing songs of joy across the heavens.

There is so much we do not know about the angels’ sound and song. But we know they celebrated and it was cause for joy and peace. We know they appeared first to shepherds, a class of people so low that their testimony was not even allowed in courts. We know those shepherds were told the joy was for all the people. We know too what they found — a baby in a manger wrapped in cloths. This was the king of kings, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father on whose shoulders the government would rest.

Christmas can be a time of darkness for many. People get overwhelmed with burdens and worries and fears. They worry about the right gift or if they can give gifts at all. They worry about making ends meet, the tax bill due, the health of loved ones, and so many other worries that like the angels’ song we may not know all the details, but we know enough to know those burdens exist.

Commercialism and secularism make this a time of year of purchase and lights and elves on shelves when what it really is about is a baby who came to give great joy for all the people. We do not know how the angels sounded except we know they sounded filled with joy. So should we all be this Christmas season. For unto us a child is born who can take up your burdens and fill you with peace. Merry Christmas.

Hey Look! Turns Out Willing Officials Can Make Compromises

The Democratic Party, as it has gotten more and more secular, is unwilling to do the things necessary for people who disagree to peacefully coexist. It should have been an easy thing to keep Kim Davis out of jail in Kentucky. But Democrats refused to do anything. The Governor would not issue an executive order. He would not convene the state legislature. He demanded Kim Davis violate her faith while giving lip service to her concerns.

Turns out, though, that something could be done. Matt Bevin is willing to issue the executive order the Democratic Governor claimed he could not issue. Bevin is also willing to have the legislature make changes.

It is possible for people of cultural clashes to peacefully co-exist in the United States. The problem is just that the people with the “coexist” bumper stickers really have no intention of letting anyone they disagree with continue in the town square.

They intend to make us all care. Kentucky, for now, has gotten a reprieve.

Remember: Tolerance Is Just a Word They Use, But Do Not Mean

Houston voters decisively rejected the gay mafia’s attempt to force their world view on voters — a world view that would have let men into women’s restrooms. Houston voters decided, instead, to stick with a few thousand years of the status quo. It is also a status quo that exists in most of the rest of the country.

So, having lost democratically, the gay mafia will now attempt to punish Houston, TX for defying it. Heads, they win. Tails, you lose.

Even the outgoing Mayor of Houston has seemingly given tacit blessing to punishing Houston.

What makes it so outrageous is that if they are successful, and they probably will not be successful, they will more likely than not see the Superbowl given to a city that has the same status quo as Houston.

The gay mafia does not want tolerance — they have no intention of tolerating democratic acts that defy them. They want it their way. They have no respect for federalism or communities of interest, but see conformity to their version of utopia.

There will be no tolerance. Instead, you will be made to care.

The Stupidest Thing Ever Written About Pope Francis and Kim Davis

Gabriel Malor is a Republican gay rights activist who spends about as much time on twitter advocating for Republicans as he does trying to convince the world that his favorite sin is no sin at all. Thus we arrive at Malor’s take on Pope Francis having a private meeting with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

Just read this:

Yes, it is terrible that the Pope meeting with Kim Davis gives her legitimacy instead of realizing that the Pope does pray with liars and murderers.

I mean, doesn’t the Pope even know that Kim Davis publicly said gay marriage was a plan from the devil “who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Doesn’t the Pope know that after he met with Kim Davis she told ABC News (!!!) that government employees are humans and “conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right.” She even emphasized that “government employees had the ‘human right’ to say they cannot discharge duties that they believe go against their conscience.”

Did Pope Francis not know what sort of person he was dealing with?

Oh wait . . . it was Pope Francis who said gay marriage was of the devil. And it was Pope Francis who, after meeting with Kim Davis said “government employees had the ‘human right’ to say they cannot discharge duties that they believe go against their conscience.”

So that must just be why the Pope will meet with just about anybody privately at the Vatican Embassy in Washington when those random strangers fly up from Kentucky and demand to speak with him.

Who knew it was that easy to meet the Pope. At least we know that Gabriel Malor thinks a Christian who takes a principled stand is not a good person, but akin to a murderer and liar.

Have We Not More Faith Than This?

“We cannot compartmentalize our faith. We cannot say I’m a Christian, but this is separate. We cannot tribalize Christianity”

One of my favorite emails after the Trump situation at the RedState Gathering was this piece of hate mail, which I present to you in its entirety from email address to email signature line, lightly edited.

From: heavenbound****@****.com
Subject: What event?
Date: August 8, 2015 at 3:40:49 PM EDT
To: [email protected]

You disinvited Trump! We’ve disinvited you. we had planned on streaming the event. That won’t be happening in our household. Hopefully you will become a conservative organization with some balls one of these days.

[named removed]
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22

Let us review shall we.

This guy considers himself heaven bound. He is a Christian. He quotes scripture at the end of his emails. His is reflective of many I encounter in social media and my email inbox. He is angry, wishes someone had some balls, and he loves Jesus.

Those of us of faith in this country are being confronted by just where exactly we put our hearts. Scripture tells us we are to love God will all our hearts. (Matt 22:37 and Deut. 6:5) But a great many Americans have concocted an Americanized Christianity where they love the country as a substitute for God.

In that Christianity, their faith can be on Sunday and their Americanness on Monday to Saturday. They can witness in their email while also telling others to grow balls or go to hell or get pancreatic cancer — I’ve had a lot of Christians in the past few weeks hope I’m anally raped.

Now, to be sure, many of them are not really Christians, but a lot of them are. And they are deeply angry by the state of this country. But I have reached a tipping point on this with other Christians.

My Bible tells me to put my faith in the things of the Lord, not the things of this world. A lot of American Christians are putting their faith in political candidates for a country that will, in fact, one day fade as Christians are just passing through. Politicians are no more perfect a vessel than any of us other sinners and while they might be throwing money changers out of Washington or “insert your cause here”, they are not necessarily tempering that passion with the humility of a servant’s heart or the grace of one who stands humbled before the Lord.

For example, a lot of the heaping scorn being thrown at others who are perceived as not fighting like Trump are actually being directed at those who may very well fight, but speak more softly and act more humbly. Just as the world is confounded by the Christian who turns the other cheek, a lot of Christians are interpreting the meekness of other candidates in contrast to Trump as weakness, but it is the meek who will inherit the earth. But the Trump issue is not alone. Though some of his supporters are the most vocal, there are others in the same boat. They want their candidate, not Trump, for some issue and have lost the ability to show grace to any who disagree with them.

We are, I believe, supposed to leave this world better than we found it. Because I believe a Christian worldview sets up the best ordering of society, I should be working to advance that. Unfortunately, a lot of American Christians practicing American Christianity have decided their faith and politics are two separate things. They have begun living a compartmentalized Christianity separated from politics.

I cannot do that. Paul, in Colossians 3, wrote, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) That includes our work in democracy. That includes our work in our jobs. We cannot compartmentalize our faith. We cannot say I’m a Christian, but this is separate. We cannot tribalize Christianity and too many loud voices claiming their support for various candidates are doing so out of tribalism — arguing not that a candidate is best, but that the candidate will give us our turn.

A lot of American Christians have let their anger about the state of the nation consume them. I cannot separate my faith from politics. It is increasingly hard to delve into the rage and outrage politics of the day because of it. I believe in a Heaven and a Hell and a last day on which I will stand on the winning side because of Jesus. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I, like everyone reading this, am a sinner who has asked God to forgive my sins. I cannot fathom the anger of people who perceive the world around them crumbling when Christ remains and wants their share of the ruin or their turn or payback.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” (Col. 2:6-8)

I can be a terribly graceless person for all the world to see. I am a sinner who has done awful things. We all have. And probably even within twenty-four hours of writing this I’ll do something that others will view as hypocrisy based on this post. But that does not mean I’m intending to be graceless. It does not mean I’m intending to be an ass. I think all of us need to work on more grace, we should not be confusing humbleness with weakness, and we should not be in anger looking for an American savior. We, as people of faith, already have a Savior who is perfect and blameless unlike any of the two thousand or so candidates for President.

ESPN Punishes Curt Schilling for Taking on Radical Islam

This is really outrageous. Curt Schilling pointed out how few people in Nazi Germany really identified with the Nazi Party to point out that even though so few people identify with radical Islam there is a problem.

His point was sound.

But it outrageously outraged ESPN, a network that has put political correctness ahead of truth and news. So they’ve yanked him from a little league broadcast.

The nation has lost its mind. It’s also why I rarely watch ESPN any more. They’re so committed to offending no one that they’re offending so many people with political correctness run amuck.

It reminds me of the Olympics in Barcelona when one of the anchors — I think Bob Costas — referred to a white person from Africa as “the first non-African American African” because he could not bring himself to say black.