Humans today are increasingly asked to live in a fragmented world of image, feeling, and PR.
A candidate for president of the United States can tell Americans that Christmas is the season of miracles, but what about the rest of the year?
Is God alive December 25, but dead by January 1, not able to survive the party?
In contrast to warm fuzzies delivered by admakers, politicians, and ministry machines, the Christmas of history is about the objectivity and unity of truth in the midst of tremendous challenge.
The Good News of salvation concerns hope despite the tragedy of a humanity spoiled yes by sin, but the individual is not materialistic junk.
Ontologically speaking, man is fundamentally good and worthwhile.
We have made a mess of things, but there’s still some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for, as Frodo’s friend Sam says in The Lord of the Rings.
Christmas is a message of whole and holy healing for humanity’s ethical fall into sin and darkness, and it is a solution set forth in the context of a humane and Godly connection between fact and reason, hope and meaning.
That’s what we meet in the second element of Luke 2:20, where the shepherds are “glorifying and praising God” as they return from Bethlehem.
This behavior demonstrates a straightforward, healthy, and connected approach to life.
The shepherds know already what it means to praise a co-worker for returning a wandering sheep back to safety.
They understand that glory is due when predators are routed because a shepherd stands with courage.
As humans subject to death, they would know about fear and sorrow and loss if a lamb is found too late.
It is a life situation where spouse and siblings in herding families offer glory and praise for work well done, food on the table, milk to drink, and clothes to wear.
In the information of Luke 2, the glorifying and praising is directed to work well done by the living God.
This is excitement related to information given by angels in the same fields where human action to save endangered animals would have been honored by words of affirmation.
Reason, Objectivity, “My Truth”
But it is important emphasize that this glorifying and praising of God upon the return of the shepherds is not a religious act, in the sense of “religion” and the kind of “faith” we hear about today.
Instead, the shepherds are responding as any reasonable human being might respond after observing the kind of phenomena described by Luke.
They are responding to a set of challenging events that occurred while they were doing their jobs in terrain they knew like the palms of their hands.
Theirs is a reasonable and heartfelt response to empirical information.
It concerns not “their truth” or “my truth” where religion operates in a safe place or on approved dates of the year (though the names of holidays may be changed to protect the children).
In this way “religious” events and “people of faith” are protected from inquiry but also are isolated from necessary educational, scientific, and political challenges outside the confines of one’s private heaven in an earthly closet.
What is presented in the history of Christmas occurs in the world of objective information, not mere feelings, private “faith,” or attempts to construct one’s own reality on the tabula rasa of a blank, indifferent cosmic canvas.
This real-world orientation includes fields, paths into town and back, Bethlehem itself, Mary and Joseph tired and worn out, and a baby in a manger.
This is wholeness without halos, a this-worldly emphasis that stands in epistemological continuity with the facticity of angels who occupy space and require ticks of the clock to deliver words of world-historical importance.
The angels are like humans insofar as they are personal beings who make significant choices and are not machines predetermined by an impersonal cosmos.
But one way these angels are unlike humans is that they have not made a mess of heaven (others tried, but the coup failed), while we humans have successfully made a mess of things on earth.
Attending the appearance of these messengers is light that illuminates familiar surroundings at night, so that human eyes see colors and sights at 3 a.m. that they usually observe at 3 p.m.
But whether by angel-light or daylight, it’s the same factual world of space, time, cause and effect, in which significant personal beings make choices and change history.
The Biblical Christmas affirms reason.
This includes the free-thinking rationality of man as male and female created in the image of a reasonable God who loves both form and diversity, creativity and unity.
But it is not cold rationality separated from the wholeness of human personality.
In the Biblical context, as in all healthy human living, shepherds and kings, poets and prophets, prisoners and paupers can shout out to their hearts’ content about what angels have said and what a living God is doing at a particular moment in history.
This can be done as whole persons with free minds wide awake in schools, soccer stadiums, and halls of Congress.
It is the world of Johnny’s learning to read and of minds questioning authority, Ronaldino’s futbol creativity and Jesus’s carpentry, Caesar’s rule but also the inability of enemies to keep dead the King of Kings.
Hope and meaning join hands with fact and reason in a coherent unity of praise and wonder for God and man, angel and earth, lion and lamb, but also for love and beauty, courage and persistence, and progress towards final victory over disease, death, and decay.
Reality does not split apart, humans do not fragment, in the earthy spirit of the historical Christmas.
Thanks for your conviction and for speaking it. Businesses and companies will have to learn the hard way that they cannot trample traditional mores, morals and family and expect no consequences of diminished business.April 4, 2008 7:51:00 PM EDT
What is next? A "Macgay" burger? I shudder to think how the rabid homosexual agenda will continue to influence week kneed MacDonald executives who fail to understand some basic fundamentals of the culture. As Ben Franklin once stated: "Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other."
Thanks for posting this info. It shocks the intellect to see such corporate behavior, but, then again, I'm not that surprised when postmodern minds (including the executive boards they occupy) act according to their nature. Corporations who misguidedly and even passionately support the gay agenda generally see such activity as being that of a "good citizen," which they then translate to being "good business." They refreshingly aid all mankind (pardon the sexism) in reaching the pluralistic shores of tolerance and equality.April 4, 2008 11:06:00 PM EDT
However, in God's economy, such reasoning is futile.
See you at Chick-Fil-A.
One small step for common decency.April 4, 2008 11:59:00 PM EDT
One giant step for civilization.
The Big Mac's price
is not worth perversion.
Spread the word.
Mr. Pearcey:April 5, 2008 1:18:00 AM EDT
Thank God: you and your son will be healthier for it. McDonald's isn't exactly what's best for our bodies. (I am speaking as a former addict; my dad took me there every Saturday as a child. It was a hard habit to break!)
Parents, keep an eye on those Happy Meals: The homosexual agenda targets the youngest, most impressionable ones first...
I am with you.April 5, 2008 8:28:00 PM EDT
Good for you. We decided to do the same. If McDonald's is going to support the homosexual agenda, they aren't going to do so with our money.April 7, 2008 10:31:00 AM EDT
It always amazes me when corporations try to control and influence society like this. It didn't work out too well for Ford and it won't work out for McDonald's.April 7, 2008 10:31:00 AM EDT
What would Roy Kroc, founder, think?April 7, 2008 4:19:00 PM EDT
dig deep enough, and i think you're going to be growing all your own food and avoiding all packaged goods.April 7, 2008 11:21:00 PM EDT
such is life under capitalism, the profit motive by definition is amoral. my guess is that mcdonald's probably is looking more at numbers than making a dramatic social statement...
i love chick fil aApril 8, 2008 4:22:00 AM EDT
Ahem!October 11, 2008 8:45:00 PM EDT
It's not just Mcdonalds.
I was very concerned when I heard that Google was contributing large sums of money to the homosexual marriage agenda.
I applauded Google on their stance over China. I left Yahoo because of their lack of concern for Chinese freedom on the internet. I love Gmail and have a blog on Blogger. :-(
I remember a time quite a few years ago when I had to go without buying onions for a few weeks because the only ones in the shops near me were from South Africa or Chile.
I stopped buying McDonalds a few years ago when I learned they buy up the diseased animals left at the end of trading at the markets and put MSG in their food. (MSG is an excitotoxin which kills brain cells and is an addictive substance.) - Chick-Fil-A also use MSG. They have to otherwise the caged bird-flesh they use would be tasteless.