Christian Living

The Essence of Christmas

There is a phrase that has become quite common in today’s culture when people talk about their experiences. It usually ends with something like, “…this is my truth” or “…they spoke their truth” or “…they have the right to own their truth”. Their truth…hmm…as if truth is relative to the one experiencing it and validated simply because it is the way they see the situation, or it is what they believe happened, sometimes even years after the fact. Everyone has a right to their truth. If we follow this logic through to its end, then there could be any number of truths depending on how many people are involved in any given situation…and all would be valid and should be believed. This is Relativism in a nutshell, and it is taking over…and the result is chaos.

Many people these days have taken the position that there is no truth but that which is true to them. I can make my own rules about what is right for me. Nothing is really wrong for me, it is merely a choice I make depending on what I want. What others think is irrelevant. What the norms and mores are does not matter. How I was raised only brainwashed me into believing that there was some cosmic Absolute Truth when it really was only a way for my parents to control me and keep me from my truth.  This is my life and I can and will live it as I want to, and no one can tell me I’m wrong. I am the creator and master of my own destiny. Even when I have shared my faith with people, I have had them respond by saying, “that is your truth…and I respect it…but it is not my truth…everyone has their own.” It is as if they are taking the higher ground by allowing me to have my beliefs and I am the bigot for believing that there is a God in heaven and in my heart,  who has a plan and purpose for my life and theirs…and it is a good plan…yes, even a better plan than either they or I could devise for our lives on our own. Even writing this I feel like I must tread lightly so as not to offend anyone or sound as if I have no compassion or understanding or am intolerant.

Every one of us has a scale in our hearts on which we weigh what is right and what is wrong. It is balanced by our experiences, how we have been raised, and out culture. There comes a time in each of our lives when we begin to understand that we have freedom to think the way we want and believe what we will, and we choose to become the decider of what brings balance to our lives. I can choose what is right and wrong for my life. This works for a while until someone comes along that has their own truth that is in direct conflict with yours. Suddenly, your perfectly balanced world is in upheaval because you must allow them to believe what they will…and if everyone has their own truth then there really is nothing that is really true at all; nothing to fight for; nothing to live for; nothing worth dying for.

So…whose truth are you going to follow? Mine? Your own? Your best friend’s? Is there truth other than what we decide? Is there anything beyond what we can see or above what we have experienced or within the heart of any man to determine right from wrong – and if there is, can we know it? We are not capable of balancing right and wrong. The scales were never meant to be in our hands. The mistake we make is thinking we can be the arbiter of truth. This could not be farther from the truth…

“Your loving kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in your truth.” Psalm 31:5
“Your mercy is great above the heavens, and your truth reaches to the clouds.” Psalm 108:4
“I have chosen the way of truth. Your judgements I have laid before me.” Psalms 119:30
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32

And this is the essence of Christmas: Truthrevealed in a manger, lit by a star, praised by angels and worshiped by shepherds and kings alike. What started as a whisper in a dark and dying world screams through generation after generation that there is a truth we can know and trust and believe in and follow. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

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