Our Christmas traditions do not need to come from someplace of profound spiritual meaning in order to be meaningful to you and your family. Rather, it’s the sense of joy, unity, and remembrance they inspire that is most important. They have purpose to the extent that they bring us closer to those we love most. However, if we’re not careful it can be easy for the tradition to become more important than the people who keep it.
As I have noted often, LGBTQ advocates have been implementing a decades-long strategy to normalize LGBTQ behavior through popular media and culture, legalize it in the courts, stigmatize those who disagree as “homophobic” and “dangerous,” and then criminalize such disagreement. All four phases of this strategy are clearly at work in our society today.
On Tuesday, the misleadingly named “Respect for Marriage Act” was passed by the Senate. Twelve Republicans and every Democrat voted yes for the bill, whose name makes it sound as if it affirms and supports marriage. In reality, however, it further enshrines a redefined understanding of marriage into law. According to this bill, marriage is nothing more than the legal affirmation of adult desires, rather than a bedrock for thriving civilizations, built on the realities of who men and women are and oriented around the needs and best interests of children. This new bill replaces the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
In recent years, Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research have documented the theological decline among evangelical Christians. According to the most recent edition of the survey, a stunning 43 percent of today’s evangelical Christians believe that “Jesus was a great teacher, but not God.” Like in 18th-century England, Arianism is alive and well today in our a-theological approach to faith. Neither cultural darkness nor theological apathy is new. Often at the darkest times, God chooses to renew His people and light the world.
Billy Graham was right: “Many of us have put our faith in money, jobs, status, gadgets, pleasures, and thrills. Many of us—and society as a whole—have tried to bypass God, and now we are paying the inevitable price. We are in trouble because we have left out God; we have left out the Ten Commandments; we have left out the Sermon on the Mount. Now we as individuals and as a culture are reaping the tragic results.” The answer to our cultural crisis is found at Christmas.
Each and every Christian should be clear on this point: Anti-Semitism in any and all forms is a despicable evil. Last month, Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye, made antisemitic remarks on social media about going “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” and while he’s apologized for those specific words, he’s not letting up on other antisemitic comments. And earlier this month, the FBI located the source of a threat to a New Jersey synagogue. These events are occurring against the backdrop of antisemitic behavior rising by a record-high 34% in 2021 from 2020 according to the Anti-Defamation League. Jews are only 2% of the American population, but the FBI has stated they account for more than half of the targeted hate crimes.
When we believe no matter which way the wind blows that “God is love,” we learn that we can see his presence with us in the hardest places and times of life. We personally experience his promise, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2). We discover that we can say with David, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4). And we trust that he is redeeming our pain in ways we may not understand on this side of glory, so we rest in the fact that one day “I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).