The shirtless man doing taekwondo, the child staring blankly across the table at dad’s empty chair, both parents celebrating a baby’s first Christmas and the couple who cannot get pregnant, and Melissa moving earnestly from one person to the next. These are the new characters of Christmas.
The meaning of Christmas in Germany, however, gives the church freedom to proclaim the miraculous story of Jesus once again—that Christ was born for all people, that outsiders from the East are welcomed to greet the newborn Savior, and that lowly shepherds can proclaim the Good News of great joy.
If we stumble on our doubt sometimes, does that mean we aren’t blessed? No. But, consider it to be a blessing when faith is strong. We recognize that there are seasons in our faith lives. Sometimes, our faith may be as solid as the ground that we stand upon. Then, there are times when faith feels like a cliff that we hang on to by our fingertips. Yet, take comfort: it is still faith.
Indeed, looking up to see the heavens on a moonless night sky and seeing the Milky Way drape itself across the firmament is something I should do more often. Perhaps the shepherds were doing just that very thing one night in the fields near Bethlehem.
None of these sad truths seem to fit the questions we normally ask about American wars: “Are we winning?” “Are we safer?” “Who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys?” Rather, in the Battle for Mosul, all the major players are “bad."
In the past decade or so, the march toward globalism and our settled faith in democracy have gone largely unchallenged; however, a variety of political chickens have come home to roost in this past year, exposing the messy reality of systemic corruption and manifesting in a surge of populism around the world.