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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Starbucks got pretty fun yesterday. A few of us pulled out the ear-buds and acted like real people, trading jokes, stories, and turns watching laptops. It was pretty awesome. It filled a need in my heart for community–something I feared I was sacrificing when I decided not to attend grad school in Virginia.

And after I had returned home, Sister Kate showed up. We went for an unexpected walk, catching up in about twenty minutes. All of it strengthens me. And I needed some strengthening.

Last night I also attended a Good Friday service. Contrary to the somber affairs I had been accustomed to, this one was lively. It was full of upbeat music and positive thoughts–focusing on the glorious words, “It is finished.” Rescued. Christ’s death rescued me. Living a story full of heartbreak, thrill, adventure, danger, and success that would make a novel jealous, I am fully grateful for that rescue. Christ is my knight in shining armor. The One Who says I never have to be alone. Hallelujah.

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After the draining Lyme appointments of yesterday I decided to cut my trip a bit short and head back to Maine this afternoon. I was already fatigued enough to feel the tears, but when I heard about the events in Newtown they just started coming out. The adults; the children… I think of those kids so full of dreams and potential. The ballet performances they might have been preparing for; the political speeches they might one day have given; the books they might have written; the mission fields they would have impacted; the presents waiting for them under the tree. I did not, I do not, know how to pray for their families adequately. I cannot fathom their sorrow. Children have a unique place in my heart. I wanted to throw up. Despite the fact that I was traveling a road I had gone down many times (and using a GPS), I got lost twice on my drive from New York. Eventually, I was so shaken I had to pull over.

In between segments of inescapable news, songs like Frosty the Snowman played and that seemed even more wrong. I prayed; I wept; I asked God to teach me how to process the news.  It was especially bitter that this event at Sandy Hook Elementary happened around Christmastime.

Then God reminded me that it is because of events like this that Christmas matters. It was to redeem us from the sin and death and sorrow in the world that Christ came. We think of those children as innocent; look what an innocent Savior died on the cross. We think there is no hope; Christmas is all about hope: the fulfilment of a promise and new promise that Jesus would return. Since Eden, death and loss and sin have been a part of our world, but that has never been something God has wanted or simply allowed to happen without a fight. He has fought, He is fighting, and He will fight for us. Through Christ, He has been working out a plan. Sending His own innocent Son to face persecution, hardship, and death, God offered us redemption. He knows the pain of these families in Newtown; He cares. If anything, Christmas and Christ should remind us of this. I do not yet know how to pray for the families who lost loved ones, but I will still pray and God–Who understands–will hear.

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No, I don’t believe in Santa Clause. Yes, I strongly believe we should put the ‘Christ’ back in ‘Christmas’. But as a fantasy lover and author, I have to say from a purely fictional standpoint, the magic of Santa spreading cheer and goodwill throughout the world is just about amazing. I get into Christmas. You can probably tell.

So today when I pulled into the gas station and I met Citgo Santa I was beaming for an hour. Citgo should sell gas, right? Well this year its selling Christmas trees too. A jolly round man with a fluffy beard pumps gas. As he said, “Hello, deary’ his eyes twinkled and his smile radiated. When he handed me my receipt, I got a candy cane too. I think he knew he made my day, so he smiled all the more.

Citgo Santa may not have dressed up like Santa, but he certainly was Santa-like in his looks and his cheerful viewpoint. Clearly he spreads that goodwill in winter and summer and fall and spring. He has a terrible job. He pumps gas in the heat and the cold; the snow and the rain. Yet, his smile is real–and to the benefit of all around him. If only we all could be a little more like Citgo Santa!

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Some heroes are dashingly good-looking men of high birth–princes or knights or wealthy executives. But most heroes that authors write about come from a lowly place. Focusing mostly on fantasy, I would like to talk about the birth of a hero, where the story truly begins whether or not the author starts there.

Troubles will always exist in the world. But books are not about troubles; they are about people fighting against the troubles. Some authors lose sight of this; I advise you not to. People know about trouble; they want to know about someone willing to fight them–a hero.

Often a hero is an orphan (perhaps raised by a kind relative), the child of only one parent or someone confused about or with deep ties to his past. This allows the author to show more dreamy elements in the book along the way to the final battle–which make girls more likely to read them. Comparing this to the Bible: think about Jesus. He was God’s son, separated from His father and raised by kind people. He had deep ties to Heaven and to the mission He was born to do.

 A typical hero is born in a lowly stature: this certainly was Jesus. He was, after all, simply a carpenter’s son. And His earthly parents were thought to have broken the laws of their culture in having Him (the people did not understand that the Holy Spirit had given Jesus to Mary and that He was not Joseph’s child). Jesus was born in a manger! How much more lowly could you get?

As soon as it becomes known that a hero exists, the enemy hunts him down. Relentlessly; having no pity or compassion. It is not lost on evil what one person can do (and I want to encourage all of you to remember this. God can do something great through you, even if you are just one person–no matter who you are!). Sometimes a hero is not discovered until they are actually waging battle against the enemy (perhaps because he did not become a hero until he waged war). Other times a hero is known by the enemy before he even knows his own importance–this can be because he was born to be a hero.

Looking at Narnia’s Prince Caspian (by C.S. Lewis) we see Caspian, a boy raised in his own kingdom by his own uncle without knowing that he was the rightful heir. And when his uncle finally receives a male child, Caspian’s life is instantly in danger. He is in the way and he needs to be removed. On the run for his life, Caspian gathers the support of the Narnians and reclaims his rightful throne.

Now imagine that Caspian’s uncle had been ruling and had already had a male child when Caspian was born… Caspian would have been a threat to be killed instantly. And so the hunt for a baby hero’s blood would begin.

Jesus’ birth had a million times more importance. Satan knew that Jesus Christ would save the world–the entire world. The devil had to destroy Him before He could. And so even before He was born, Christ was in danger. King Herod searched desperatly for Him in order to kill Him (slaughtering all boys under age 2).

But even with enemies, there are allies. The shepherds, the wise men, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna and others we never heard about. You can read about some of them in Luke 1 and 2.

Sometimes a heroes birth is recognized as an amazing thing. Other times they gone alone and unknown for years. Either way a hero is someone who gives people the encouragement to hope and to fight for something better. Books are meant to show people that there is something better; that there is hope. That is why books are based on a hero. That is why authors can not loose sight of the hero’s, not the trouble’s, value.

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