Want to make a Christmas movie? Here’s the formula for most of them: a person or people, through a series of madcap misadventures, gain clarity amid the crush of Christmas craziness that there are more important things at the heart of the holiday season. You’re welcome. That’s one of the most beloved themes of Christmas movies. It’s in Home Alone, The Grinch with Jim Carey, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and on and on. We affirm that truth, yet we don’t live like it around Christmas.
When did things get so crazy?
Shortly after the story of how God, out of his goodness created and called things good, the unthinkable happens. Adam and Eve are tempted and fall by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now the human race is plagued by a new default setting where we think that we can define what’s good and evil and we still ask the question of God that the serpent did, “If God wants to deny you the right to define good and evil for yourselves, maybe…maybe he’s not good!” That’s when the world went nuts, that’s all it took for everything to go naners!
To know that God is good is necessary for our moral sanity. How can we live well in a world that he described as good if we won’t let him define what’s good and what isn’t? How do we know if this is good or that’s good? So the central question in all ethics and morality is, “Is God good or not?” If he’s not good, then we can do and designate as we see fit. Because God is no greater authority on the matter than we are. However, if he really is the source and say on good, then we should do and designate good based exclusively as he says. That means that we should often mistrust our own preconceptions about what we think is good and evil.
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How to have a good Christmas season
One of the reasons the Christmas season is so chaotic is because we do what we think are good things, when they aren’t. Therefore, we need to unwrap what we do and ask if they’re even good to do. Who says it’s good to rush around? Who says it’s good to buy the kinds of presents we do for the people we do? Who says it’s good to fill our days with noise and our nights with distractions? Those things can be kind of nice, but they’re not good. But, God, being good, knows best what’s good for you. He knows better than you do what’s good for your spending, your consumption, your activities, your interactions.
Central to this holiday being a good one is knowing God’s goodness and acknowledging the things that are from him as good and very good.
Remembering Jesus, gathering with other believers, helping those less fortunate, getting your arms around your family, tasting good food, sitting by the fire. That is straight from the hand of God. That is good.
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What are some truly good things you can think of that come to the front during the Christmas season?