Our friend Rick Pearcey has written a splendid and fresh reflection about Christmas which we believe you will find engaging and stretching. We are happy to post it here, in five installments, from its original publication at the Pearcey Report. The entire article is available here, subtitled, Good News Confronts Cults of Faith, Secularism, Religion, and Politics.
“Glorifying and Praising God”
But humans today are increasingly asked to live in a fragmented world of image, feeling, and PR. A candidate for president of the United States can tell Americans that Christmas is the season of miracles, but what about the rest of the year? Is God alive December 25, but dead by January 1, not able to survive the party? In contrast to warm fuzzies delivered by admakers, politicians, and ministry machines, the Christmas of history is about the objectivity and unity of truth in the midst of tremendous challenge. The Good News of salvation concerns hope despite the tragedy of a humanity spoiled yes by sin, but the individual is not materialistic junk. Ontologically speaking, man is fundamentally good and worthwhile. We have made a mess of things, but there’s still some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for, as Frodo’s friend Sam says in The Lord of the Rings. Christmas is a message of whole and holy healing for humanity’s ethical fall into sin and darkness, and it is a solution set forth in the context of a humane and Godly connection between fact and reason, hope and meaning.
That’s what we meet in the second element of Luke 2:20, where the shepherds are “glorifying and praising God” as they return from Bethlehem. This behavior demonstrates a straightforward, healthy, and connected approach to life. The shepherds know already what it means to praise a co-worker for returning a wandering sheep back to safety. They understand that glory is due when predators are routed because a shepherd stands with courage. As humans subject to death, they would know about fear and sorrow and loss if a lamb is found too late. It is a life situation where spouse and siblings in herding families offer glory and praise for work well done, food on the table, milk to drink, and clothes to wear.
In the information of Luke 2, the glorifying and praising is directed to work well done by the living God. This is excitement related to information given by angels in the same fields where human action to save endangered animals would have been honored by words of affirmation.
Reason, Objectivity, “My Truth”
But it is important emphasize that this glorifying and praising of God upon the return of the shepherds is not a religious act, in the sense of “religion” and the kind of “faith” we hear about today. … [Go here for the full article.]
– Rick Pearcey
… to be continued