November 26, 2009 Christmas is now upon us (if you haven’t noticed). We hear the music and await the onset of a Calgary winter-blast. Most of us enjoy this time of year, but not all of us. Along with the fun, this tends to be a lonely season for many, the time when our deepest life-issues surface. Along with Christmas cheer comes the unwelcome sense of Christmas fear.
While we may agree with the idea that overcoming fear is vital to the well-lived life, how is this really possible?
The 20th century American theologian H. Richard Niebuhr said that the first question of living well is not “what is right?” or “what is good?” but rather “what is going on?” In other words, Niebuhr was proposing that a well-lived life (and this would include freedom from fear) depended on getting an accurate read on reality. If ultimate reality is random chance, powered by a meaningless universe, then that reality would supply its own answers. But if ultimate reality is a loving-personal-all-powerful God who is writing this story with us, then what is good and hopeful finds its basis within his character.
Do you ever ask that question: “what is going on?”. What kind of answer have you been coming up with lately? If fear has any power with us, it is usually because of the sense that we believe the worst about reality. The power of fear is the hidden monster we cannot see or name.
But Christmas is where grace comes out into the open, and the “fear not” echoes over and over. The angelic announcement of “JOY!” is actually a statement about what is really real. And in such an atmosphere, fear dissipates like morning mist; it becomes qualified, redefined, limited.
This weekend we begin a new series which we are calling Monsters Inc. It is our attempt to address the issue of fear from within the Christmas story. For what God has given us in Jesus is a large dose of the ultimately real, a reality that is very good.
See you this Sunday at 9:29 or 11:11 -- the coffee is always on.
Please note that we are holding our first Weekend University event this Saturday (November 28) from 9 to noon. The topic is Grief & Loss: Trust and Acceptance, with our special guest Bob Glasgow. Whatever the reason for our grief we need to understand it in order to heal. Click here for more details.