Saturday, December 5, 2015

Finding Christmas: Tradition, Truth, and Choice

(This is the second in a two-part series on choice)

A man I know is dying, mostly because of the consequences of a lifetime of bad choices. He hates his symptoms. He hates the compilation of diseases that are killing him. Those who love him are heartbroken. It's a tragedy, but it's too late to undo a lifetime of poor decisions now.

He had a choice, every single day of the last fifty years, and he chose poorly. Repeatedly.

Having a choice is a greater luxury than we realize, for many people around the world are trapped in a situation with virtually no choice at all.

I recently asked the question, "If we understood what our choices would cost us, would we choose differently?" The answer I received was, "Probably not."

Perhaps we've grown so accustomed to the luxury of choice that we have forgotten the implications of choice, for every choice has a consequence. 

If I choose eggs and sausage for breakfast, it may not have a major consequence today, but, chosen daily over the course of a lifetime, it can impact my cholesterol, which may clog my arteries, damage my heart, and shorten my life.

Choices matter, both in our health and in our faith.

When visitors from the king of Babylon (Isaiah 39) came to Hezekiah, he showed them everything. All "his" treasures. All "his" riches. Isaiah told him, "That was a bad choice, Hezekiah. One day, all those treasures will be carried off to Babylon, and your descendants, too." (Leanna Paraphrase) I've read this passage dozens of times, and I'm still shocked by the king's response. 

Hezekiah didn't care. 

As long as he had peace in his day, complete with all the treasures he believed were his, Hezekiah didn't care what the consequences of his choices were.

My grandmother was kind to strangers, generous to the poor, and patient with those whose lifestyle was not the same as hers. She saved for the Christmas mission offering all year long because she was committed to taking the good news of Jesus around the world. She prayed for those around her until she saw the results God had promised. 

Her decisions, made fifty years ago, still impact me and my son today.

I'm so grateful for her good decisions and the positive impact those decisions have in my life. But what if she'd made poor decisions? Those poor decisions would still have an impact, too.

It's a scary thought. My decisions over the last twenty-three years have borne fruit (both good and bad) in my son's life. Some of those decisions will have a lasting impact for generations. 

It's a sobering thought. Both the expression of our faith and the way we celebrate the holidays of our faith have an impact that lasts for generations. There are many fun traditions associated with this time of year and it's easy to let tradition overshadow truth. 

The Son of God left heaven and nestled briefly in a stone manger filled with hay. It was the first stop on a journey that led Him to the Cross. For me. For you.

The beginning of Christ's journey is the truth of Christmas. 

This year, let's choose to keep our eyes on the truth of Jesus and allow it to overshadow everything the world has to offer. There is no glitter more beautiful than the sacrifice of a loving Lord who gave His most important treasure to save even the least of us. 

The choices we make now will impact our families for generations. Let's be sure those choices are not just good but the best we can make. 
#Advent #keepChristinChristmas #MerryChristmas #JesusChrist #choice

photo courtesy of