Decisions for Christmas
The right/biblical spirit for Christmas is seen most clearly in the Magnificat = Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1:46-55. She is moved in her whole being (cf. Psalm 103) to praise “God, my Savior.” This is not a superficial feeling, her soul and spirit rejoices in what God is about to do in her life and in the world. She shows us what the true spirit and attitude of Christmas should be. It should be an attitude of humility and genuine joy under the rule of God. The opposite attitude is condemned in this very poem (the wise of this world, the proud and mighty).
An excellent example of the contrast between the right attitude toward God (humility which leads to joy and fulfillment) and the wrong attitude (pride which leads to defiance and gloom) can be seen from the following two poems written in the 19th century. The poem by Henley was found in a handwritten copy in the possession of Timothy McVeigh before his execution in Indiana in 2001. It is entitled INVICTUS (unconquerable) and it displays a defiant and gloomy human being. The other poem was written as a response by an obscure poet of the 20th century: Dorothea Day.
Henley’s life shares the defiance of Nietzsche’s spirit in a world in which God is unnecessary (God was “dead”) and man can become “superman” (Übermensch).
I cry with Piper:
“Would that Nietzsche, who went insane the last 12 years of his life—and Timothy McVeigh, who claimed the rule of his soul till he lost it—had both seen the beauty of being ruled by Christ.”
Out of the night that covers me, Out of the light that dazzles me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole, Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be I thank the God I know to be,
For my unconquerable soul. For Christ – the Conqueror of my soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance Since His the sway of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud. I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance Under the rule which men call chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed. My head, with joy, is humbly bowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Beyond this place of sin and tears,
Looms but the Horror of the shade, That Life with Him and His the Aid,
And yet the menace of the years That, spite the menace of the years,
Finds and shall find me unafraid. Keeps, and will keep me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, I have no fear though straight the gate:
How charged with punishments the scroll, He cleared from punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate: Christ is the Master of my fate!
I am the captain of my soul. Christ is the Captain of my soul!
I pray this Christmas that all of you will accept Jesus Christ as the Captain of your souls. There is JOY and fulfillment in Christ: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… See Piper’s www.desiringgod.org.