Charles Dickens apparently saw the disparity between the poor and the rich. “A Christmas Carol” speaks to the spirit of giving. There is much joy in seeing the joy in a child’s eye when they see goodness and kindness wrapped in a bow.
I guess I’m on a 12 days of Christmas role writing about the stuff that you’ll rarely see staged on the front page of the Newspaper. I’ve been in the “poor recipient” category and I’ve been the person who gets to bring the gifts to the family in “need.” Each of these “stories” are true with the hope that this Spirit of Christmas that Dickens talked about will prevail!
As you are entering the holiday, what are you contemplating? There are the usual parties, the obligatory gifts for the boss’ dog, the jaunts to the grandparents. You have probably made the list of the extra food supplies you will need for all the feasting. Have you thought about those who will have a much different holiday from last year? There will be families, singles, and elderly who are “barely making it”. The extras like: gifts, decorations, parties, clothes, special foods aren’t even a possibility. Some things like heat, to keep the house warm, may not be in this year’s budget.
Last year, my husband and I received a phone call (several days before Christmas) from a couple who spend each year buying on sale toys. Their goal find children, in the community, who otherwise wouldn’t receive any gifts. They had contacted a church. The church had already done their “adopt a family” holiday giving. The church gave the couple our number. We in turn contacted a small Hispanic church in the poorest section of our community. Two days before Christmas, several of us gathered together to wrap gifts. I had never met these people but immediately felt right at home. After our gift wrapping party, we spent the afternoon going door to door passing out gifts. Many of the dwellings we stopped at had little furniture let alone holiday decorations. Children were running from other areas to make sure that we didn’t miss them. When all was said and done, we handed out gifts to 60 families. These gifts coming primarily from this couple living on a modest income. There was nothing modest about the generous heart of this couple.
Can you reconsider your holidays just a little? What if you bought several gifts for people not in your circle of friends or family?What if you encouraged co-workers to do the same? What about purchasing extra groceries to go along with the gifts? The possibilities of how you can help are almost endless. You might say I have no way to get gifts to people who need them. Being in the non-profit sector, I promise you there are organizations that will find a place where those gifts are needed. Your local church is on the radar as they are receiving petitions daily for help. Are you the bold type? Go into a poor community yourself and do what we did. Knock on doors and hand out gifts. No modern-day Santa will be rejected.
The mindset in postmodernism is that objective truth does not exist. But in post-truth, the person believes that objective truth exists, but they subordinate truth to their preferences, or their comfort. In other words, one doesn’t care that truth exists or what the truth is if it doesn’t line up with one’s preferences. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" - George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell