AfterGlow: Spiritual Schizophrenia (Sept – Dec 1994)

By Matt Dabbs

by Phillip Morrison
September – December, 1994

19Let me be sure I’ve got this straight: Christmas has become too commercial, but we dare not let it be too religious. Christmas trees are right; manger scenes are wrong. Since nobody knows the date of Jesus’ birth, we shouldn’t celebrate his birthday at all. Be sure to honor the life, teachings, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but give only passing attention to his miraculous birth.

Is it any wonder that many Christians suffer from spiritual schizophrenia during the Christmas season? The shopping malls encourage both pagan excess and pilgrim excitement. The thrill of December giving is tempered by stacks of January bills.

Christmas is for children. Christmas is for giving. Christmas is joy to the world and peace on earth. Christmas is for being grateful. And the One for whom I am most grateful is Jesus Christ.

I’m grateful for all those who have influenced me for good. But my feelings for them is nothing compared to the gratitude I feel for Jesus. They have all enriched my life; he has given me life.

My gratitude begins in Bethlehem’s manger, with a tiny baby too weak to help himself, yet powerful enough to save the world. The most audacious command of God was not for Noah, with no rain in sight, to build an ark, or for Abraham, with no promise of deliverance, to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. No, it was for God to come among us as a baby, weak, dependent, endangered, and ask us to believe that he would deliver us from the awesome powers of darkness and sin.

I am to entrust my life, my future, my all to a baby? Yes, a baby, but what a baby! Conceived by God, born of a virgin, delivered from every enemy that he might deliver me from my greatest enemy. With my whole life depending on Him, I believe with my whole heart the incredible declaration of Scripture: The Virgin Mary, in partnership with God, gave birth to God’s own Son.

Had I been alive when Jesus was born, I wouldn’t have wanted to be Caesar Augustus, though he was at the height of his power. And I wouldn’t have wanted to be Herod, the insecure puppet king, trembling at the news of a baby’s birth, and slaughtering innocents in a crazed attempt to remove just one who might be king.

I think I would have enjoyed being a shepherd, though it would mean being an outcast from polite society. No angelic assurance could have kept me from being afraid on that one wondrous night. My teeth would have been chattering, and my knees trembling all the way to Bethlehem. I would have been haunted forever by the sound of the heavenly host praising God.

Had I been there that night, I would have felt compelled to glorify and praise God for the things heard and seen.

And I still am.

Phillip Morrison

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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