December 23, 2013
Merry Christmas from the Shank Family!
You’re looking at the guest list for Christmas, in our world. Daughter Shannon is on the left, with Bates, and their sons Jackson and Houston. That’s Erin on the right, with Jason and their three: Max, Cate and Avery. We’re waiting on our 12th member: Erin and Jason’s adoption from South Africa – likely, a little guy under six – who will come when the government protocols have been exercised.
Like you, we’re preparing to celebrate Christmas. For many, they view it as a “religious holiday.” What they don’t realize is that Jesus came to earth – born, lived, died, resurrected, returned to heaven – on a mission that would, forever, make religion obsolete (“no longer produced or used; out of date”).
Religion is an attempt by people to connect with God, and it always presents a process by which a person ultimately achieves the approval of a distant deity. Uncertainty accompanies religion; under its codes, you never know – this side of death – whether you’ve managed to earn an invitation to Paradise.
Christmas celebrates the retirement of religion, and the launch of life in its place. Rather than going to visit God in religious devotion, God came to visit us in daily reality. Paul offers the meaning behind the mother and the Magi: “ But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” (Galatians 4:4-5). The Law was the religion; the Son was the replacement.
The culture is wrangling over religion, while the people who have a relationship with the Son live above the fray. Christianity is listed among “The World’s Great Religions,” but that’s an inclusion through ignorance. When you’re alive in Christ, you get it; when you’re dead in sin, religion is the best you can do on your own. That’s why God brought the Solution we could never conceive; when the virgin conceived, His breakthrough was set in motion…
So, join our family – and the Family of God, through adoption – in remembering again the profound promise found in the Child Messiah, the King worshiped by wise men and feared by kings, the One who came to eliminate the oppression of religion and replace it with the freedom of faith!
May His birth influence all that you do as you end 2013, and anticipate 2014,