Running Toward the Darkness

“On Christmas, God ran toward the darkness.”

So said the pastor in a statement as profound as could be-during a season full of profundity.

As a Christ following American, these days are the darkest of my lifetime. Nothing remains the same, there is no place in the culture where we can rest. The Steelers will not make the playoffs.

Despite the bloodbath that was the twentieth century, the twenty first is off to an inglorious beginning-yet we profess shock when the horrific occurs. Faith is seen not as the undergirding of ethics, but the seat of intolerance. Family and child rearing are being redefined daily. Individual freedom is under assault not by loony anarchists, but by earnest, religious folks determined to accumulate enough power to fix all that is wrong.

Giving back freedom for the sake of the collective good is voluntary enslavement. Ask the post WWI Bavarians about that one.

When God ran toward the darkness, He triggered near genocide. The gentle babe so often depicted without tears in his mother’s arms caused bloodshed the moment He arrived. All those those baby boys impaled on the swords of Herod’s men surely left their mark.

That smart assed carpenter’s kid from Nazareth became a pain in the ass to the recognized educated religious leaders of His day. He challenged them openly, his humility as frustrating as his courage-It made him incorruptible and free to act. The fact that He was fully human made Him accessible. A ragtag band, even more obnoxious and violent followed him around, in open defiance of the tyrants. They preached, lived, fought and died for…salvation-freedom from spiritual enslavement. Freedom that gave life not only in heaven, but on earth, because once one is free from spiritual enslavement, freedom from all other forms of slavery must follow.

What to make of this here, now…with my house losing value, my best laid plans at my feet in pieces, my core beliefs under daily assault-with no safe passage in sight?

God showed up as a baby in a low place so that he would be within reach. Once he showed up, He picked a fight. He didn’t fight with the easy targets-the down on their luck, dirty, misguided, the temperamental-the sinners. He befriended them, and gave them freedom to use their tempers, their passions, their talents in service to a kingdom freer than any here on earth. He still does.

So I go with the one who runs to the darkness. He always defends individual liberty, for without it, man is farther from God. He befriends those who are met with scorn by religious leaders for failing to fall in line, and acts on their behalf when they cannot act themselves.

He refuses capture and enslavement by those who would become tyrants- no matter their motivation. Because of Him, I live free and love passionately. My goal must never be safety. Safety is a myth.

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