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Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Even for Today



The truth of the Incarnation is still true after the Christmas tree is put away. And it can carry us through 2013. Stay tuned to BreakPoint.

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John Stonestreet

I know many of you have already put away the Christmas decorations for another year. But if you’re like me, they’re still up — and will be for at least another week. My little girls are still singing Christmas carols. If this sounds like your house, I have assuring news: It’s ok.

In liturgical traditions, the Christmas season continues past New Year until Epiphany, which celebrates the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentile wise men known as the Magi. So, continue to imbibe those lyrics that proclaim “the Savior reigns,” “peace on earth” and “tidings of comfort and joy.” Rest assured that it keeps with Christian tradition, even if friends and neighbors roll their eyes.

More importantly, it helps us remember that the reality of Christ’s coming should shape how we see and live in this broken world of ours right now in 2013. Christ has come. He is the King. Our hope is secure!

In today’s “Two-Minute Warning” video, I look back on 2012 and ahead to 2013. Many of us found 2012 difficult: marred by death, evil, tragedy, political and legislative disappointment, and plummeting cultural character. It’s hard to think 2013 will be smoother after watching the political carnival surrounding the fiscal cliff, learning that Justice Sotomayor rejected Hobby Lobby’s request for an injunction as they oppose the HHS Mandate, and watching the continuing disintegration of peace in the Middle East. We know that 2013 will be marked by continuing battles over religious liberty, economic sanity, and marriage. And those are just the things we know to expect!

So what would Chuck Colson have said about all this? Well, I’m convinced he would have said, as he so often did, “Now is not the time for despair. Despair is a sin. It’s the time for hope, because Christ has come.”

“But what can we do?” you ask. “How do we turn the tide?” Well, good question; and Eric Metaxas pointed us in the right direction on yesterday’s BreakPoint. Instead of just cursing the cultural darkness, we need to light a cultural candle, to create cultural artifacts that portray truth, beauty, and goodness. And I’d add two additional ways we can act as people of hope. First, as I say in today’s “Two-Minute Warning,” we need to be formed as people of hope by practicing the disciplines that habituate us towards Kingdom Thinking and Kingdom Living.

Christians have lived in good times and bad, and their faithfulness didn’t depend on the health of the culture but in their connection to Christ and with each other. My colleague T. M. Moore has prepared terrific resources to help you develop or enhance your habits of prayer, study, reflection, and evangelism this year. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to these free resources.

My second suggestion? Look around and jump in. Yes, the influence of cultural elites in Hollywood, New York, and D.C. can seem overwhelming. While those arenas are not accessible to most of us, that doesn’t mean we can’t influence culture. Culture lies right outside our door and we need a Christian presence there too.

So rather than complain that we don’t like who or what is at the top of culture, look at the culture around you. Look at those intermediate institutions as  de Tocqueville called them: families, churches, local civic organizations, and businesses. These shape culture and people, too. Let’s do what we can where we have access. And be assured, it makes a big difference.

I’ll be talking a lot more about these things during 2013. I hope you’ll take a minute to watch today’s “Two-Minute Warning.” We’ll link to it at BreakPoint.org.

From all of us and because Christ has come, Happy New Year. I’m John Stonestreet.

 

Further Reading and Information

A Look Back, A Look Forward
John Stonestreet| ColsonCenter.org | January 2, 2013

The Time of Your Life
T. M. Moore | ColsonCenter.org | January 2, 2013

Creating a Conservative Counterculture
Alex Wainer | BreakPoint.org | January 1, 2013

Blemishes in Christian Character
Tim Keller | WorldviewChurch.org | January 2, 2013

The Spirit of the Disciplines
Dallas Willard | HarperOne | 1991

Practice of the Presence of God
Brother Lawrence | Whitaker House | 1982

 


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