Tag Archives: Christmas

Mere Christianity

The themes of the holiday season, being appreciation in Thanksgiving and joy in celebration of the first Christmas, coincide with weather encouraging long, cozy nights indoors. Such times seem tailor made for books generally and edifying reads in particular, and as an author I hope all of you are indulging yourselves that way.

My November absorption was an overdue study of the 1952 classic by the renowned C.S. Lewis, titled in his devout understatement Mere Christianity. In this work, the masterful Lewis provides wonderful and insightful commentary on the basic tenets of Christian faith held in commonality by those who believe. It is rightly considered an essential read for all of us who realize ourselves to be between Here and There.

Substantive enough that it deserves to be taken on one chapter at a time, with each being followed by contemplation in turn, Lewis assures, convicts, and comforts. Personally, I perceived evident hints of his formative influence on another convincing apologist, Josh McDowell, who like Lewis also started from a base of skepticism.

Those recognizable precepts made clear that this book had influenced my own perspective years previous to my finally engaging the thing. In a sense, C.S. Lewis is another of my literary fathers, and with me, through McDowell, helped produce my catalog of novels. Expressing in fiction the seeds of faith I’ve been allowed to present through the lives of my characters Jon, Sean, and Boone is therefore partially their legacy as well. Such is the work of the Spirit.

Like Lewis, my character Jon Anthony sought to emphasize commonalities of faith rather than spur conflict in outlining divergence. Their respective efforts similarly proceeded from a peaceful nature, the bestowment of which is a core value and benefit of embracing Christianity. Such descends from the essential motivation of our Creator, which is love. Love was born in the mind of God, who then realized his desire for servants and souls with whom He could share the best of all emotions.

Everything else followed. Love, necessarily a choice, has a dependency on free will, the unfortunate application of which gives rise to sin rather than harmony. All things nurturing and charitable proceed from it, and we rightly celebrate those each holiday season and whenever else the proper mindset allows.

Mere Christianity is eminently worthwhile. Regardless of your state of belief you should read it for yourself as a life task and initiative of spiritual edification.

A personal side benefit of digesting the work was an insight as to the nature of truth. Actualities, you see, and particularly those from which Lewis constructs his arguments, are and were always here. Truth, as does the existence of a personal Creator, endures in an essential state of being. Those exist independent of discovery, acceptance, promulgation, or consensus. Truths of the physical plane discovered and undiscovered through science, for instance, are in effect independent of anyone being aware of them. In that way, physical and spiritual laws share an essential commonality. It is in their embrace that we grow our perspective and build a more useful outlook beyond the data set from which we previously proceeded.

It is this aspect of useful truth inviting embrace that led to the Great Commission, and the efforts of Lewis, and afterward McDowell, and then myself. Everything true directs toward sure knowledge of the nature of its Craftsman: the motivating love of the Father, the accommodating forgiveness of the Son, and the unrelenting outreach of the Spirit through whom we commune with Him from this world we know.

As is so eloquently expressed in Mere Christianity, what He does has the goal of successfully delivering us to our Creator. Should one understand nothing else of His Will, that would be enough of a beginning to launch a life lived as it should be. Remember one precept, descending from the apostle Paul’s commendation to the Bereans, who searched Scripture nightly to confirm the things he told them were so: truth fears nothing from inspection.

So it is each holiday season, as in the dawn of another day: a fresh chance to begin appears again. Like truth, the opportunity is always there, waiting to be picked up, held dear, and carried forward. You have our wishes for a Merry Christmas and the best of New Years from everyone here at Single Candle Press.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

Just a reminder that all three of my series—Jon’s Trilogy, Sean’s File, and Boone’s File—now have a free gateway title available through links on the sidebar if one uses an e-reader. Those collections of novels I have connived to support and enhance each other, as each takes place in its own decade of the same literary universe.

Reading material in any form, though, makes a great gift, one with the potential to move forward from then on with the mind it encounters. Should you think enough of my writing to pass it on to another, thank you in advance!

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Because He Arrived

It’s a continual challenge in an overly accessorized world to effectively relay the significance of the mission of Christ. People, by and large blessed by a successful society and subject to many distractions, are able to ignore their primal nature and focus on less significant matters. But that Jesus appeared is a historical actuality, and one should understand why.

The Christ Child didn’t arrive because God changed in any way, but because He chose to manifest Himself in the person of a begotten son. The Craftsman is the same from age to age, existing outside the line of time in what can only be termed as nontemporal superdimensionalism. It is an altogether singular existence, dependent on nothing else. He is, and so he told Moses His name: I Am.

He Is today as He was then. We, as a portion of His portfolio, observe what He is doing as our limits allow. Time passes, because we are encapsulated and subject to the Line of Time, while we learn and grow to His purpose. In the fullness of our days, we will return to Him—going back under the Hand and the Eye of the Craftsman—to be evaluated.

My first novel, The Anvil of the Craftsman, led with His promise from Isaiah 43:25 that “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” That’s Who He is.

God’s covenantal promise is to reconcile the difference between who He is and who we are in the only way He is able. He needs to balance His equation, working in a manner that is representable mathematically. He chose to do so in a way that in its nature addresses another of our predictable failures.

Nontemporal superdimensionalism was not a term likely to flourish in the first century, let alone the times before the Hebrews became Israel. Though the concept is intuitive, humanity’s grasp of the universe was limited. We had an excuse, seeded by doubt from His enemy, that God didn’t know what it was like to be alone and abused and dying. From the beginning, in the crossroads of our minds where our voice and that of God and the deceiver meet, there was the premise planted of our Creator as a tyrant rather than a Father.

Jesus arrived, because our last excuse could be countered in no other way. I emphasize again: nothing changed then. This is the way God Is. His revelation is progressive, not His nature, and he judges men and women today on the same basis He has ever.

We are judged on a perfect standard, as He is perfect, for the reason that He must maintain, as we are told, what He creates. To do so, He must remain as He is, undiminished. It is our great opportunity and danger to arrive in eternity as a child of God or a castaway perceiving too late the nature of our existence and His.

So it is we initially fear God, and do so in our clarity. By His will, we come closer to see a message being not one of tyranny, but relaying His motivation of divine love, and His saving grace, and the overwhelming sufficiency of Christ.

Because Jesus arrived, we may understand. Join us in celebration if this is your first season of realization, and be blessed this Christmas as we remember again.

Choose to love, -DA

Advent, revisited

I am re-posting this piece from two years ago, since in the intervening time I’ve not been able to do better. From everyone at Single Candle Press: have a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2015. -DA

*****

Bethlehem, Judea
The Census of Quinirius in the years of Augustus

Two men, clad in white, walked a hill overlooking the town. The night, as always outside a camp or the confines of a town, was quiet and cold. Only the moon and stars provided what light broke the darkness. One of those this night shone brightly enough that the shadows, however, held little dominion.

The praise that had taken place was over, and the only witnesses had been the shepherds and their flocks bedded down in these hills. There was time for reflection now, and for walking, and to learn.

One of the two was very old, though his steps were not heavy with age. The other was less so. He had been apprenticed only shortly before the blessed event, and there was still so much that he did not understand. They stepped, but the sandy ground did not show their tracks. They seemed to shine with a light from within, but the luminance cast no shadow. They were here in the land of David, but the lesser of the two felt as if they were also not here. It was not the first such feeling that had come in his new time.

“Friend,” he asked, hesitant to disturb the moment that was upon the land. “What has happened here? Is something new between them and us?”

The old one smiled and shook his head. They paused in their walk, looking down on the edge of the small town, where lights, even in the outbuildings, could still be seen to shine. He leaned on his staff of white as the newcomer attended him. This one seldom spoke, but his words were worth hearing whenever they came.

“Something new? Hardly.” His elder’s eyes—still bright—turned from the town to look at his companion. “Something that has always been, rather, has passed for a while into the realm of men and the line of time.” He smiled, as his gaze returned to the scene below. “It is how they understand things, you see. One moment leads to the next while they live.”

“I understand that, at least, now,” the elder’s apprentice replied. “But why the passing?”

“To show love in the time of men! It will be a blessing to them all, as was the Praising, so that they can hear in its telling and retelling. The Spirit moves in such times, you see, and communes with whom it will.” He straightened, and his staff moved forward as their walk began once more.

“To them all?”

“Yes—all. Every one,” the old one asserted. “Some will not take it up, of course, but that is their choice. Those that love will see in their hearts, even if they do not hear the stories … or know the names.”

The apprentice looked back toward the lights of the town. “And what then will they see?”

The old one paused once more, and bent down to the sandy ground. He pressed his finger into the soil. This time, it yielded, and unlike on any other of their journeys, a few flecks of the dust adhered. The grains came up with him as a display. His companion watched as his fingers flicked them away. The grit dissipated until only a single speck remained. The elder regarded the smallest bit of Judea that he could obtain.

“They will see someone in themselves,” he mused. “Someone less than Who created them, and wonder to their own purpose. Then the Spirit comes, you see, and fear retreats before Him. Love is left behind, and another part of the Whole is set in place, each tended as carefully as any other … each in his own time.” The old one paused, and together they looked back toward the lights of the town. “Or in hers,” he intoned.

A final flick of his fingers returned even the last speck of soil to the ground from whence it had risen, and the lesser of the two perceived his lesson. That ground was made of many of the same. So was the land, as was this Earth … and that remained only a part of the many attentions of Heaven.

“So long an effort, is this whole of parts,” the lesser of the two whispered.

“He is a Craftsman … one who works slowly and well, until His results are achieved. How else would it happen, outside the line of time?”

The young one nodded, his head lowering in respect as they moved on. As they walked, the Judea landscape seemed to absorb them, and after a short time, they too were gone. The moment had passed, and yet remained. As with all His servants, it was eternal.

Choose to Love, -DA

Advent

Bethlehem, Judea
The Census of Quinirius in the years of Augustus

Two men, clad in white, walked a hill overlooking the town. The night, as always outside a camp or the confines of a town, was quiet and cold. Only the moon and stars provided what light broke the darkness. One of those this night shone brightly enough that the shadows, however, held little dominion.

The praise that had taken place was over, and the only witnesses had been the shepherds and their flocks bedded down in these hills. There was time for reflection now, and for walking, and to learn.

One of the two was very old, though his steps were not heavy with age. The other was less so. He had been apprenticed only shortly before the blessed event, and there was still so much that he did not understand. They stepped, but the sandy ground did not show their tracks. They seemed to shine with a light from within, but the luminance cast no shadow. They were here in the land of David, but the lesser of the two felt as if they were also not here. It was not the first such feeling that had come in his new time.

“Friend,” he asked, hesitant to disturb the moment that was upon the land. “What has happened here? Is something new between them and us?”

The old one smiled and shook his head. They paused in their walk, looking down on the edge of the small town, where lights, even in the outbuildings, could still be seen to shine. He leaned on his staff of white as the newcomer attended him. This one seldom spoke, but his words were worth hearing whenever they came.

“Something new? Hardly.” His elder’s eyes—still bright—turned from the town to look at his companion. “Something that has always been, rather, has passed for awhile into the realm of men and the line of time.” He smiled, as his gaze returned to the scene below. “It is how they understand things, you see. One moment leads to the next while they live.”

“I understand that, at least, now,” the elder’s apprentice replied. “But why the passing?”

“To show love in the time of men! It will be a blessing to them all, as was the Praising, so that they can hear in its telling and retelling. The Spirit moves in such times, you see, and communes with whom it will.” He straightened, and his staff moved forward as their walk began once more.

“To them all?”

“Yes—all. Every one,” the old one asserted. “Some will not take it up, of course, but that is their choice. Those that love will see in their hearts, even if they do not hear the stories … or know the names.”

The apprentice looked back toward the lights of the town. “And what then will they see?”

The old one paused once more, and bent down to the sandy ground. He pressed his finger into the soil. This time, it yielded, and unlike on any other of their journeys, a few flecks of the dust adhered. The grains came up with him as a display. His companion watched as his fingers flicked them away. The grit dissipated until only a single speck remained. The elder regarded the smallest bit of Judea that he could obtain.

“They will see someone in themselves,” he mused. “Someone less than Who created them, and wonder to their own purpose. Then the Spirit comes, you see, and fear retreats before Him. Love is left behind, and another part of the Whole is set in place, each tended as carefully as any other … each in his own time.” The old one paused, and together they looked back toward the lights of the town. “Or in hers,” he intoned.

A final flick of his fingers returned even the last speck of soil to the ground from whence it had risen, and the lesser of the two perceived his lesson. That ground was made of many of the same. So was the land, as was this Earth … and that remained only a part of the many attentions of Heaven.

“So long an effort, is this whole of parts,” the lesser of the two whispered.

“He is a Craftsman … one who works slowly and well, until His results are achieved. How else would it happen, outside the line of time?”

The young one nodded, his head lowering in respect as they moved on. As they walked, the Judea landscape seemed to absorb them, and after a short time, they too were gone. The moment had passed, and yet remained. As with all His servants, it was eternal.

Choose to Love, -DA