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Archive for Christmas

A Message from a Prophet

“Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,

This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are.”

Luke 2:33-35 (MSG)

As I was studying the story of Christmas, I came across this passage. Picture the scene. Mary and Joseph, a godly couple, are coming to get their miracle baby properly dedicated according to the laws of Moses. I imagine that despite the crazy events leading to the birth, that today they are in good spirits. They’ve seen angles, been adored by shepherds and wisemen, and they were probably full of anticipation about what raising Jesus, a man whose name meant “God Saves,” might mean.

No doubt they, like many others, saw the Messiah as coming down and bringing justice to the earth, lifting oppression from the land, crushing those pesky Romans, and making everything perfect and wonderful and better. And so when a strange old man approaches them, asking them if he could prophesy over their promised child, my guess is that they were like “sure, the more blessings, the better.”

What came next was anything but expected. Instead of waxing on about how their lives over the next several years is going to be a bowl of peaches, he turns to Mary and tells her that this Christ child will be a polarizing character–misunderstood, misquoted, rejected. He even tells Mary that her baby will bring about a pain in her own life so severe that it will be as a sword piercing her very soul.

Not exactly the kind of news you’d like to hear coming from a seer. But that’s the whole paradox of the Christmas season. While the Christmas holiday is a glorious day, we have to remember that the whole reason Christ came to this earth was to suffer. Simeon knew this and prophesied it. It’s about Christ’s deliberate, willing, and redemptive suffering for mankind. Christ came to this earth, not to enjoy a long, plump life, but to suffer at the hands of His own creation. His life was marked by pain from the very beginning.

And consequently, so was Mary’s. By choosing to follow God’s plan, she brought pain onto herself. This, too, is a sobering thought. “Mary,” said Simeon, “this child will wretch pain into the very core of your being. But from it a greater good will come.” Christ later tells His disciples, “no servant is greater than his master. Since I have suffered, those who follow Me will also suffer.”

So this Christmas, as we remember the joys of the holiday–the time with family and friends, the wonderful foods and candies, the twinkle in children’s eyes–let us also not forget the real reason the baby Christ came to this earth. It was to endure great suffering so that we could be saved. And that is a reason to celebrate.

Tiny Tim

Usually this time of year, I’ll do a cartoon about how we are losing our right to celebrate publically the spiritual meaning of Christmas. But this year, I simply could not pass up the glaringly obvious play on words with Tim Tebow and Tiny Tim.

While it may appear so at first glance, I’m not knocking Tebow. If you have followed previous columns, I’m actually an unabashed fan of Tebow’s and I’m very thankful that the Broncos organization finally gave Tebow his chance. Sure, he looks shaky in the passing game, but I think that’s something that will improve with time and game practice.

What’s really fascinating to watch is the national response to Tebow. He is a man of conviction. He’s somebody who is not ashamed of his beliefs nor is he afraid to espouse them, something that’s rare in today’s politically correct age. And because of this, he has raving fans on one side and haters on the other. Outspoken people, like Tebow, do not elicit nonresponses. You either love him or hate him.

I listened to some of the rhetoric being said about Tebow. One lady called in the radio station and lambasted Tebow for using the public airways to proclaim Christianity. She said that the public airways needs to be guarded against religious speech as it has no place on television or the radio. Soooo… according to her, free speech only applies to inside your home. Or perhaps religious speech doesn’t fall under the banner of free speech. Not quite sure, never really understood that logic.

Another crazy item to observe is the disparity between how Republicans verses Democrats respond to Tebow. According to a Public Policy Poll, Tebow is viewed favorably by 68% of Republicans but only 39% of Democrats. (source: http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_19610585) Sarah Palin even came out with her own endorsement of Tebow. I’m trying to figure out why that many Democrats don’t like Tebow. Do they not like faith? Miracles? Work ethic? Buzz cuts?

Certainly, many of the wins have been nothing short of miraculous. I really don’t think God cares who wins football games. And I don’t think that it is a measure of who has more praying fans. But I do know that God honors those who give Him the glory. And if Tebow winning accomplishes that feat, watch out America.

I’m hoping that the Broncos, my preferred team, starts winning with a little dominance here soon. A playoff run would be nice. Although, since I didn’t predict they would win more than four games this year, what they have already accomplished is more than beyond my expectations. This has been a fabulous ride.

Holiday Rules

holiday rules

Sometimes the far left just makes my job so easy. This cartoon is based off of the news story that came out a few days ago regarding the elementary school in Mass. that has banned ANY Christmas reference whatsoever for their “Winter Holiday,” including Santa Claus and candy canes! What really got me rolling, however, is when the administration, in defense of the decision, came out and said that they wanted to have a religiously neutral holiday*, and that it was enacted so that they could teach tolerance to the kids. Huh? Yeah, maybe in high school, this might have been appropriate (okay, so it’s never appropriate), but in elementary school? You’re going to confuse the poor tikes.

“Teacher, what’s tol-tolrr-torllrrance?”

“Well, Johnny, that’s when you ban everything and don’t let certain religious people express their faith during holiday celebrations.”

“Oh…”

Talk about doublespeak. Gotta love it. When it gets this extreme, all I can do is sit back and laugh. And create a cartoon to invite you to laugh with me.

–oh, and in case I forget… Merry Christmas!

*um…, doesn’t the word “holiday” itself come from “holy day?”… more on that in a later cartoon.

Bailout Claus

A. C. L. Scrooge

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