’Tis the season once again.
Somehow the coffee just tastes better when it is enjoyed with the lights of Christmas.
Somehow, the quiet, colorful mornings of the Christmas season put the rest of the day in a bright, more God-filled perspective.
The news is a bit iffy right now, but our joy doesn’t have to be. Romans 8:31 reminds us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
And we know that God is for us!
God is the Giver of Christmas and the source of our peace, comfort, and joy. Let’s plan to celebrate this month with the Giver of all good things.
The Giver from a biblical perspective
Aren’t you glad that you have God’s presence in your Christmas season?
The non-believing culture has always tried to foster belief in anything but Christ. Santa isn’t a bad story; he just isn’t the true story. God has given us the perfect understanding of Christmas in his word.
I’ve often said that we can’t understand Christmas without Easter. If we only think of Jesus as a babe in a manger, we miss the enormity of his birth. Paul gave us an important message for Christmas in his letter to the Roman church. He wrote: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
The Giver gave us Christmas so we could have Easter. The Giver has graciously given believers all things, now and forever.
The Giver from a novel perspective
I read Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver when it was published in 1993. The book made waves in our world and in the church. It is on the list of the most banned books in the United States. Many say it is unsuited for the age group it targets because it addresses dark subjects.
I understand the angst, but I’ve always held to the idea that we should educate children rather than indoctrinate them. Our relationship to Christ is a choice, and no one can choose if there is only one side presented. I didn’t fight the message of the novel; I used it to present the difference between truth and fiction. And, frankly, I took some heat from fellow believers over my position.
I think the novel is an interesting read and provides a message about our world from a non-Christian perspective. The Giver won the Newberry Medal for young adult fiction in 1994 and eventually became a movie. Chances are pretty good that most junior high schools have it in their libraries as recommended reading. I read the book when it was assigned to my son and it sparked some great conversations.
The Giver is a science-fiction novel that describes a dystopian world that aims for a utopian experience. The book teaches that truth can’t exist in utopia because people passionately desire freedom, choice, and love. Utopia can’t exist in a controlled, non-feeling existence where people are taught to obey rather than care.
Jonas is a young man in the novel whom the “Giver” is hoping to influence. The giver, in the novel, is the one who knows the “truth” about their existence. At one point, Jonas tells the giver, “You and I don’t need to care about the rest of them.” As soon as Jonas speaks those words, he knows they aren’t the truth. The paragraph continues, “Jonas hung his head. Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.”
The Giver is a well-written novel that attempts to inspire truth. Sadly, truth cannot exist without its Author. The giver in the novel is a man, not God.
The true Giver of all good things
There is so much about Christmas that sparks joy, especially this year. Or at least, hopefully this year.
If I had to assign Satan a one-word description, I would call him a virus. As the news of this new virus progresses, it should serve as a reminder that our world continues to need our Christmas celebration. The world needs our Christian truth about the reason for this season.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16–17).
I was inspired to write this blog post as I read the autobiography from Lois Lowry’s website in light of the verses above. It doesn’t help to condemn lost people for believing “lost” ideas. Christians aren’t superior people because we know the truth; we are just blessed by learning how to live it.
Lois Lowry wrote, “My older son was a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. His death in the cockpit of a warplane left a little girl fatherless and tore away a piece of my world. But it left me, too, with a wish to honor him by joining the many others trying to find a way to end conflict on this very fragile earth. . . . I try, through writing, to convey my passionate awareness that we live intertwined on this planet and that our future depends upon our caring more, and doing more, for one another.” I thought it was profoundly moving that Ms. Lowry is most famous for writing The Giver, a book that proves her goal is humanly impossible.
If I could share the truth . . .
I wish I could talk to Ms. Lowry about God, the actual Giver of all good things. In some ways, I feel like I write for the same reasons Ms. Lowry listed.
I believe we live “intertwined on this planet” too. I believe that “our future depends upon our caring more, and doing more, for one another.” But, Lois Lowry and I believe very differently about the Giver. I don’t believe human beings can do the work of God apart from the strength of God.
Everyone we see this week is filled with the Christ of Christmas, or needs to be. God is the true Giver, who gives perfect gifts that are humanly impossible. His word tells us that he will “graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32).
Let’s enter this Christmas season with his perfect strength, his complete truth, and with his inspired goals. And, may the Christ of Christmas light our way through the coming weeks.
If the Giver is for us, who can be against us?