I don’t go much for the dark, apocalyptic games – the post-disaster worlds where amorality rules, with parables on mankind’s fate to destroy itself. While the look at our fallen nature is certainly apropos, these typically secular games rarely see or acknowledge the redemption which is also afforded to the world.
I see enough discouragement in life as it is, thank you very much. Seeking it out in my entertainment is rarely cathartic, yet it seems to creep into our culture with more prevalence. Why is hope so unfashionable in this era? Why are the nihilists winning?
We live in a world marked by entropy. Fruit rots. Tools break. Buildings decay without maintenance. Have you ever seen a body work in reverse, Benjamin Button-style? Lose its wrinkles? Regain bone mass? Sport a new, full head of hair? As my pastor likes to say, “Even Lazarus eventually died again.”
In a post-modern era where we’ve striven for reason and come back just as human as before, what do we have left? There are many who are saying nothing. It’s the natural conclusion for a godless universe. We’re born, we age, we die – and in the middle of it all, maybe we aim to be good people. Yet in the end, “everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
In the absence of redemption, there is only one other option available for us: Destruction. If you don’t believe in an ultimate restorative power, what else could you expect of a world in decay? What could you even hope for your own heart? And so people worship their own despair.
But now, it is Christmas, and in the Christmas season, we remember to anticipate. From the secular to the sacred, everyone wishes for those “happy holidays.” Something clings from even the most cultural practice of Christian faith, I think. Santa brings material hope, sure, but even nativities have prevalence in front lawn displays. This baby Jesus in his plastic, glowing manger – Do we celebrate his birth because he became a “great man”? Because he said some smart things?
If you’re looking for a holiday with that level of fanfare, try President’s Day. Christmastime boasts decorations, foods, and its own musical repertoire. It prompts giving and kindness and excitement. It asks us to remember peace and to aim for selflessness. Why?
Because the Creator of every molecule which forms this universe – making kingdoms, wonders, and comforts possible – stepped into Earth by way of an unwed girl, into the basest home meant for animals. His very birth declared he would be for all people of all stations in life – not as a good teacher, but as a Redeemer bringing our one powerful source of restoration.
I may have understood it once, this desire to focus only on the entropy. When life doesn’t go your way and your desires go unmet, perhaps you want to believe there’s no hope in the world. It’s easier to be bitter at God. And yet…Christmas calls to us. We still sing the songs, ring the bells, and admire the lights.
Isn’t it interesting God commands us to joy (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)? Are we just drawn naturally to despair? I want to be better at keeping this sort of holiday spirit year round.
So still count me out on those post-apocalypse games. Merry Christmas, everyone.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)