A Brighter Christmas Contrast

I came home from work early one day this week.  Chills, aches, all of that fun stuff.  I got into bed and fell asleep.  Several hours later I woke up (thanks to my phone). I was deep asleep when startled by my phone, despite it’s mellow Christmastime is Here ringer.  I was in the midst of a nightmare, though; so, I didn’t mind too much.

I’ve had nightmares often since I was a little kid.  There was a period of time when I would have them almost every night.  I had some recurring ones, but often it was more recurring themes.  The most common theme is harm/death to my family.  Sometimes the danger is also towards me and sometimes it is not.  I don’t need a shrink to figure all this out.

My fear is that I will lose them.  It is safe to say this is one of (if not the) greatest fears in my life.  Not in a rational, no one wants harm to come to their family, kind of way.  More in a I can’t breathe without them, don’t miss a moment with them because you never know what will happen to them, kind of way.  I realize, though, that while their death may be horrible for me; it wouldn’t be for most of them.  Death is not the worst thing for those of us saved by Christ; in fact, it is not even a bad thing.  I fully believe this with myself, but have a hard time with my family.  Then I realized this was my selfishness because I want them with me.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I want my family to join Christ today either. I’m saying for Christians this should be the moment we are impatiently anticipating, not dreading.  The day we meet our Father, Counselor, Prince of Peace, Almighty God.

“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”  ~ C.S. Lewis

However, for those of my family not saved, this should be a legitimate fear of mine.  I finished my read through the Bible this morning, which was my goal for 2013 – it just didn’t get finished until December of 2014. (I had a little “yay me” moment this morning to celebrate, not gonna lie.)  I read it in order – meaning I ended with the last 15 chapters of Revelations this morning.  Besides a moment of celebration, I was again left with a feeling of sadness and fear for those I love who are not saved.

Christmas is a great time to reflect on this.  It represents the amazing gift that God has given us through Jesus Christ.  But if I believe in an all powerful God who saves, I have to then confidently and courageously confront what it is He saves us from.  Death is too simple of an answer.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

So, we should be afraid for those loved ones who have not accepted God as their savior.  The Bible is perfectly clear on what their fate is.

However, it is not a battle we can win alone.  It requires God’s power and movement in the hearts of others.  I’m someone who believes that most of the time people aren’t convinced of God’s existence or salvation through Jesus Christ by words from my mouth (or others’).  They are convinced by what they see in others and the world around them.  We need to make sure we are living a life that accurately portrays His love (to the best of our ability).  We need to live our faith out loud as a testimony and resource for others that speaks to God’s power, grace, and faithfulness to the good and the bad.  We need to make sure we are honest and open about what we believe and why we believe it, but it doesn’t require holier than thou, demeaning oratory.  It requires love and prayer unceasing.

This ended up a little bit darker reflection on Christmas than I intended, but I think it is an important one.  We can only truly appreciate and understand the gift that Christmas represents we truly consider the alternative consequences.

So merry Christmas!  We are less than two weeks away.  Reflect on the amazing gift December 25th represents with me this season.

 

 

-S

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