Faith

Don't Allow the Current Political Strife to Overwhelm You ... Christmas is Coming!

Last weekend, like many others around this country, a group of friends and I were discussing the election. Our banter back and forth was light, but with the recognition that this year’s presidential election is a cultural powder keg. With cautious hope in her voice, a friend from Australia piped in and asked, “So, you’re telling me that all this will be over after Tuesday?”

Somewhat jealous of her innocence, we ruefully laughed, “Oh, no. It’s going to get worse.”

And it did.

Over the last few days, as I’ve watched friendships disintegrate, people lose hope, people gloat, and violence descend, I have prayed, reflected, questioned my motives and words, and prayed some more. It’s hard not to despair when you read the news. But, for Christians, despair is a lie of the devil. Thankfully, God, in His kindness, has provided the answer.

Over two thousand years ago, in a part of the world that was rife with political tension, deep religious divides, and entrenched racism, God sent the light of the world, Immanuel. The tiny Roman province of Judea was an irritating thorn in the side of the Roman Empire. Usually, the conquered peoples were able to be assuaged by Rome’s thoughtful attempts at integration, including acceptance of the gods of the conquered nations, the offer of security and public utilities, and a remaining semblance of self-governance. But not the citizens of Judea.

On the heels of the Zealot movement’s violent uprising, Roman governor Quirinius ordered a census to be taken. The rest of the story is very familiar.

But why did God send Immanuel? Why did Jesus, God himself, take on the form of human flesh?

The book of Genesis answers those questions. After God created everything and declared everything good, He entered His rest. Creation was functioning as He intended. Human image bearers—specifically Adam and Eve—were rightly and justly ruling as God’s vice-regents. But, then sin was introduced into God’s good creation.

Not content with their role as God’s subjects, and in league with the serpent-Satan, Adam and Eve attempted a coup on God’s throne. God, of course, quickly quelled the rebellion and banished Adam and Eve from the Garden and pronounced a sentence of death over them. Thankfully, during the aftermath, as God detailed the consequences of their actions, the promise of a Savior was announced. Genesis 3:15 tells us the glorious truth that “I will put enmity between you [serpent-Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he [Jesus] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

This morning, in His grace, God reminded me of that promise. As “chance” would have it, I read the Gospel of Mark yesterday. Today, with coffee in hand, the Gospel of Luke opened to me, and my heart praised God as I read the Christmas story. My fears, anger, and misplaced priorities gave way to the joyful march of the words, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Christmas is almost here! Over the coming weeks, our hearts are going to be turned from an earthly election and earthly sorrows to the wondrous birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All of the pain, anger, and hopelessness that threatens to engulf our society is why Jesus was born. He came to defeat sin and death, and because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, even the hordes of hell cannot prevail against Christmas.

Even better, there is another Christmas coming. A Christmas in which King Jesus will throw open the gates to the new Garden and the new City and usher God’s children into the final rest of God. While inviting friends and family to join the family of God through faith, let’s pray for the quick return of Jesus so that creation may be healed. As our current political and cultural climate reminds us, that final Christmas can’t come soon enough.

Over the coming weeks, we have an opportunity to turn the dispirited political dialogue of friends and family to a conversation about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is an answer to their despair. Let’s share it with them. Why should we want to win earthly political arguments when we possess God’s answer for despair? No fear, no angst, and no political divides can conquer our King who was born in a manger.

Soli Deo Gloria