December 19, 2011
A big week ahead. Two notable deaths, and one notable birth; how do you handle those inevitabilities while trying to celebrate “the holidays?”
Hold the presses for the obituary page. The world lost two icons within the space of days. Kim Jong II – the dictator/god of North Korea – is finished. And, Christopher Hitchens – the apologist-in-residence for the emerging atheist class of Western Civilization – has completed his earth years. The world-wide press coverage says, about both, that they are “dead.”
Kim Jong II maintained the information black-out in North Korea that had begun under his father’s regime. The “official” North Korean account says that “ …at the moment of his birth, a bright star lit up the sky, the seasons spontaneously changed from winter to spring, and rainbows appeared.”
Kim Jong II; dead, at 69. Known for his oppression of anyone associated with the Christian faith, he has passed from a world where he could command and control to a new era, for him, where he has no power to command and is in no position to control. Where is he now?
Christopher Hitchens: dead at 62. Some have already splashed the question around the ‘net: “Do you think he might have changed his mind, at the end?” For the man who called himself an “antitheist” (atheist – the one who maintains that there is no God – was not enough to fully describe his disdain for the Divine; he wanted to be understood to be an outspoken opponent to the very possibility of Providence), he wanted to be sure that no one would speculate that he could ever change his mind. He issued a plea asking people to forgive him if he did make a deathbed conversion, arguing that if such a thing happened, it wouldn’t be him speaking but a “half-demented” entity racked by pain and riddled with drugs. How did he view the message of the Incarnation? “What kind of designer or creator only chooses to ‘reveal’ himself to semistupefied peasants in desert regions?” He was a man of words; what would he say, if he were to stand before the Word?
Two deaths; one Birth. How do they relate? Is there a connection?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth,” (John 1).
Don’t let the popular promotions of the public press warp your 20/20 view of overarching truth: “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27). The rules on the game box called “Life” make it clear: you get to make up your own self-absorbed determinations, down here… but when “death” arrives, it is game over, not you over. You leave the game table… and then stand before the Creator Who will demand an accounting from the created. No way to turn the timer back; no chance to demand a recount. In this life, you make your bets and choices; after this life, the results are announced…
To an antievangelical, this Christmas narrative borders on disgusting. Modern “tolerance” would propose that a “loving God” would not honor the choices made by Kim Jong II and Christopher Hitchens on this side, and allow them to have another shot after seeing the other side. Logically, that’s an informal fallacy: it’s an argument from silence. Their premise: in His Bible, God failed to mention that He allows disregard for his eternal solution, brought to Earth as the ultimate Christmas gift. Care to take that chance?
One Birth: it casts a shadow over two deaths, but also projects light over millions of lives. If that is true, is there any reason we would allow anyone to “celebrate the season” without coming face-to-face with the great God Gift of Incarnation?
Back then, in Bethlehem, it was the angels declaring the Good News; now, it’s up to us!