Every year it happens to me: I enter the holiday season filled with the desire to have the merriest Christmas ever and as each day of the Advent season passes a bulb darkens on the strand of lights in my mind. I get depressed. I’m miserable and I start wishing the season would just be done and over with. I know there are lots of people who share my sentiment. Christmas joy and the gift God so sacrificially gave to us is lost to me and I find I have to go looking for Christmas all over again.
In the last week or so I’ve been drifting aimlessly. I have family bemoaning how Christmas will never be like it was when I was younger; I hear people saying they aren’t going to get want they want (or deserve) for Christmas and that what they buy will not be appreciated. The last couple weeks have been wrapped in misery and tied with bow of sadness.
I realized I needed to climb back up on my camel and head out in the direction of the Christmas star. It was up there. I couldn’t miss it. I wouldn’t miss it. Or would I?
I’ve read all kinds of scientific research about why people get depressed at Christmas and it all centers on Christmas Day not living up to our expectations. People have this huge build-up for the big day and then … that’s it? I did all that shopping, spent all that money, baked and decorated and ate all those cookies, for no praise, no pats on the back no a jelly-of-the-month subscription and crappy gifts I don’t like? Seems like a waste of time, money and energy to me!
As Christians we must never forget what following Christ truly means. Often we are prompted to reflect on difficult topics. We must make seemingly impossible decisions as we embrace a Savior who (by His own admission) is not accepted in a rapidly deteriorating world.
When we read in Scripture or in history books of early believers and the sacrifices they made for their faith it’s easy to draw a disconnect. Could those events possibly happen in modern times? And if so, would it realistically unfold here in America and not the Holy Land?
Scripture promises these things will happen. There is a very real possibility we will see this in our lifetime, even very soon -- if we have not already.
Case in point: the recent death of American missionary John Allen Chau on the North Sentinel Island. For years Chau had been telling his friends and family about his passion to proclaim the Gospel to this remote tribe which is part of India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But, the Sentinelese do not welcome outsiders. Trespassers to the island have been killed in recent years including two poachers who washed up on shore unknowingly.
The tribe is heavily guarded by their neighbor India who long has maintained an “eyes on, hands off” approach in an effort to protect their ancient way of life.
Anyone can believe something and some people believe anything. Perhaps this is because believing takes little effort and involves no risk. Santa Claus. An imaginary friend. Real change. Or a hope or a wish -- which is oftentimes the case.
When it comes to our relationship with Jesus, however, are we called to just “believe” in Him? Is that enough? James 2:19 (NIV) addresses this,“19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.”
James teaches us that believing and having Faith are NOT the same thing.
The works in these posts are written by either Randy S. Gerardot or Gregory C. Jones, web masters for betheone.co. Guest writers will be credited individually for their work.