In a time of chaos and confusion what cuts through the noise is often silence.
This past week I, like many of you, were preparing our home for Christmas. Lights went up on the house around Thanksgiving with decorations alike, but this week we made final touches to our home as we prepared for the holiday season. One thing that was made apparent to me was the length to which we will go in order to prepare our homes to welcome the Christmas season.
But do we prepare our hearts for Christ in the same manner, or is this time of year emblematic of the American Christian experience, a cheap and shallow alternative to the depth of Christ worship in exchange for cultural relevance and religious mechanics?
This past week I was also bombarded with news of so-called spiritual leaders publicly bickering over the President of the United States. Like school girls fighting over a boy, letters circulated in public and media blared a message that is less about allegiance to a man or country and more about a Church manifesting the loss of power.
There is much that could be said about the faulty foundation this is all built on, that America is like the harlot of scripture, democracy her wine and her idols of lust spread across the nations. But this would be folly as men line up for her temple prostitutes, deaf to any word of chastity, pursuing sex with her spiritual demons as they claim to be fully devoted to God.
We are wading into the waters of the Pharisee. At a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, who challenged political zealots and false leaders, it would be wise to see how Christ operated in ministry and what the Great Commission really is: Kingdom advancement not political agenda.
The path of righteousness, for which we are called, is for His namesake. The name of Christ, and moral hazard, are absolutely linked with how we represent Christ on earth as ambassadors. If moral conscience is taking a back seat to the law we are no longer above reproach but clinging to a demonic idol.
When your body is sick there is a battle going on inside and what the Church body must realize today is that the infighting is a sign of sickness. The only healer is Christ. If the virus of American exceptionalism and political idolatry is not removed, it will be purged.
Then I am drawn to a lowly manger.
I am drawn to a moment of silence after the birth of Christ. To a lowly place away from the masses. Away from earthly and demonic wisdom that claims power in numbers or through association with men. For as world leaders come and go the only constant is Christ.
For as world leaders rise and fall the only constant is Christ.
The question is whether or not we are deceived. Do our hearts really have room for Christ or is He given a corner next to other gods?
It was C.S. Lewis who said:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
You can add politics to drink and sex.
When the magi came to see the King they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They brought what was of value to the world, yet it was still mud pies from the slum. The question remains, and can not be answered with word but in deed, whether this American Christian experience is offering Christ mud pies rather than a full heart of devotion. Our full allegiance.
This time of year is a time of introspection. A time where we not only celebrate by annual festival the birth of Christ but also the beginning of a new year, both of which celebrate new beginnings, a second chance to start over.
It is at times like this that we are best suited to sit like Mary and listen, rather than make much of our movement like Martha. It was Martha who opened her home but she was consumed with the preparation. It was Mary who found the purpose in Christ’s presence. To rest and let Him do what we can not. To ask God to search our hearts and gently remove the veil which blinds and distorts our eyes from seeing clearly. To re-focus our eyes away from the Satanic misdirection that is taking our eyes off the prize, to have our eyes fixed on Christ and not on this world.
World leaders will come and go. Though all leaders are placed in authority by Christ, like the damned many are placed for destruction. Objects of wrath for the lust and pride of a nation. Sex, drink and earthly treasure will fade but the Lord remains forever. If we remain like Martha, focused on what we do, we will miss the point and purpose of Christ’s presence, His advent. We will miss the joy of His love, the power of His presence and exchange it for a cheap religious substitute.
Is the room of your heart prepared for Christ? Or is this just another busy season where we crowd out Christ with earthly worry and pleasure? Gently He knocks, gently He speaks, gently He leads all who are open to Him.
In His leadership He confounds the wise. The weak will be made strong, the small will triumph over the great, and the humble will rise over the boastful.
As the world crumbles and fades away we can rejoice in that we are receiving an eternal Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is here among us, Emmanuel. Rejoice in the power of His name, the healing power of His touch, the soothing words of His voice, and the fact that all will fade away but the name of Christ will be praised forever.
Christ alone is worthy, make room and prepare the way.