Friday, December 16, 2016

A Christmas Testimony

It’s been one year since Star Wars: The Force Awakens was revealed in theaters after much anticipation about how the saga from a galaxy far, far away would carry on.   Historic characters were brought back and new characters were introduced.  Fans speculated as new trailers and information was released or “leaked” throughout 2015 prior to the movie’s release. 
There has always been one moment that has stuck out to me from the movie.  It was actually introduced during one of the trailers.  Han Solo is discussing with Finn and Rey the status of Luke Skywalker and speculating why he disappeared-
Finn: Do you know what happened to him?
Han Solo: A lot of rumors. Stories. People that knew him best think he went looking for the first Jedi temple.
Rey: The Jedi were real?
Han Solo: I used to wonder about that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. A magical power holding together good and evil, the dark side and the light. Crazy thing is... it's true. The Force. The Jedi... All of it... It's all true. 1
Han’s response to Rey’s question about whether or not the Jedi were real has always stuck with me.  It reminds me of my own personal journey as a Christian and the significance of celebrating Christmas.  Now I can’t say that I ever considered the account of Jesus’ birth a bunch of “mumbo-jumbo,” but for much of my life, it was not the centerpiece of why I celebrated Christmas.  It was more like a tradition that was remembered and simply went along with the other things I would do every year such as listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, buying and receiving presents, and visiting with family members in hot, crammed spaces.  It didn’t really rank any higher to me than these things.
My perspective began to change on Christmas Day of 2003.  What made this Christmas very different from years past was my mom being in a nursing home on her 48th birthday.  The cancer that she had bravely fought for the past year had come back and the doctors had told her and my dad that there was really nothing more they could do.  It was only a matter of time before she would leave this earth.  My family decided that day that we would spend the morning at home together and then spend the rest of the day with my mom.  When we arrived at the nursing home in the afternoon, we walked into her room and immediately noticed something was terribly wrong.  An emergency 911 call was made and mom was rushed to the hospital.  Within hours, she would be gone.  I was in shock, to say the least.  While I knew that barring a miraculous healing, mom was going to die, the reality of it hit me hard.  And the fact that it happened on Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, just didn’t seem fair.  Now it was also the day that I would always remember as when my mom was born and when she died.
For several years, Christmas became more like any other holiday.  I was more excited about being off work for an extended period and having a good time rather than reflecting on the importance of this observance. 
So what changed?  In late 2006, I met Kimberly, whom I’ve now been married to for almost 9 years.  She helped me with re-establishing my relationship with God.  We found a church that was exactly what we were looking for and more.  This is where I met Chad Gross and was introduced to the world of apologetics, something I desperately needed.  I had many questions about my faith and didn’t really think that I should ask them or I assumed they couldn’t be answered.  Man, was I wrong!  And I am so thankful for that!  What I slowly began to realize was Christianity is much more than a tradition.  It’s true, all of it!  In Star Wars Episode VII, Han’s statement I quoted earlier was the result of his “eyewitness accounts” of Jedi, Sith Lords, etc.  The New Testament, particularly the Gospels, are eyewitness testimonies of those who witness the historical events surrounding the life of Jesus Christ.  Their accounts and the sacrifices they made to share it with as many people as possible, is one of the many pieces of evidence that gives me reasonable confidence in what I believe. 
My life as a Christ follower is not based on tradition, but is instead grounded in truth!

May the Lord be with you!

The Other Chad

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