Features

December 13, 2013

Bryan Collins: It’s the season to overcome evil with good

What is it about Christmas that brings out the best and the worst in people?

In Christ’s birth narrative in the gospel of Luke, verse 13 speaks of the heavenly host breaking forth, unanimously in praise exclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, whether or not you celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus, this month millions of people are, intentionally or unintentionally, focused on Jesus. Millions of people are focusing on keeping Christ in Christmas while others are out to erase the religious significance of the holiday.

Going back to the original question, at least one answer to what brings out the best and worst in people is all of the religious significance surrounding this holiday. You might be surprised to know that not all Christians celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Christ. It should come as no surprise that in this diverse country not everyone celebrates Christmas, period. The Jewish festival of Hanukkah has already past. Atheists from groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation are making their seasonal attempts to secularize the holidays. Christmas has become, among other things, a convenient time to play a game of ideological tug of war.

To offer a little perspective from a bygone era, the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 is often told this time of year. As the British and German forces on the Western front endured freezing, flooded trenches, the Germans were overheard singing Christmas carols as they lit candles and put them on small trees set up on their parapets. This became an unofficial symbol of truce where by Christmas Day soldiers had cleared their trenches and wandered into “no man’s land” to gather and bury their dead. Once this awful duty was completed, the story goes that British, German, and French forces were exchanging greetings and gifts of food and tobacco. It is also told that an unofficial game of football (soccer) broke out between the Germans and the British.

If battle-hardened soldiers could set aside their differences and engage in displays of human compassion and friendly, good-hearted recreation, is it too much for modern idealists to call an ideological truce for the holidays? Why don’t we practice a little “live and let live” human compassion for a few days and enjoy a peaceful holiday?

If you prefer the understated boughs and ribbon adorning your window sills and your neighbor prefers the Clark W. Griswold, grid-laboring lights, respect one another’s freedom to choose while we are still able. If your neighbor doesn’t believe in Jesus, do what Paul said in Romans 12:20-21: feed him/her some of the bounty you’ve enjoyed and don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

Whatever holiday it is you celebrate or do not celebrate in December/January I wish you peace and goodwill.

Bryan Collins is minister of Central Church of Christ, Dalton.

 

1
Text Only
Features
  • Le Miz 3 mlh.jpg Do you hear the people sing?

    Sometimes referred to as “the world’s most popular musical,” “Les Miserables,” an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1846 novel, has been performed around the globe in more than a dozen languages for nearly 30 years.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Bryan Collins: God so loved

    In John 3:16, Jesus spoke of the Father’s love of the world, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

    July 11, 2014

  • The Rev. G. David Henderson: Those who help also serve Christ

    If the reader wrongly believes Christ can’t use you because you’re too timid to sing, pray, speak publicly, play musical instruments in worship services inside a church sanctuary, today’s devotional will greatly encourage you.

    July 4, 2014

  • New pastor for First Presbyterian

    The Rev. William McMullen “Will” Scott, currently of Indianapolis, Ind., has been called to serve as the pastor of Dalton’s First Presbyterian Church. Scott is only the 19th senior minister to be called by the congregation in the church’s 167-year history. His nomination was approved by the congregation Sunday, June 15, following a yearlong search.

    June 16, 2014

  • Bryan Collins: Men, step up

    On Sunday, our nation will celebrate Father’s Day. The observable differences in the way Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are celebrated could be attributed to several different factors.  Mother’s Day is typically a more sentimental occasion than Father’s Day because our moms are usually a little more sentimental. Moms are typically more nurturing and so we think of them differently than we think of our dads. It is too often the case that moms have to play the role of mother and father to the children.

    June 13, 2014

  • The Rev. G. David Henderson: The powerlessness in aloneness

    God knows the fragileness of every human he has created. The first time God graded something as “no good” within his new creations is when he created the first human, Adam: “It is not good for any man to abide alone” (Genesis 2:18). God then created Eve.

    June 6, 2014

  • DLT play features bluegrass gospel music, comedy

    It is October of 1945, the war is over, and the gospel-singing Sanders family is back together again.

    June 1, 2014

  • O.N. Jonas Memorial Foundation plans for future

    The yearly meeting of the O.N. Jonas Memorial Foundation was recently held and plans for the future were discussed. The foundation (administered by the Creative Arts Guild) began in 1968 with friends of the late Oscar N. Jonas uniting with business, civic and educational leaders to establish an organization that could perpetuate Oscar’s aspirations for the cultural enrichment of all children in northwest Georgia. The foundation sponsors visual, performing and literary arts in Dalton Public Schools, Whitfield County Schools and Murray County Schools, and also Crossroads, Mountainbrook and the Dalton Regional Youth Detention Center. All programs are free to students.

    June 1, 2014

  • Robin Richmond Mason: Sit down for a season but stand firmly on your roots

    Proverbs tells us that a woman can live in such a way that her children will rise up and call her blessed.

    May 10, 2014

  • The Rev. G. David Henderson: Christ-like power from devilish thorns

    Today’s devotional is to the readers who have asked God many times to rid Satan out of their life, but as of yet he hasn’t  removed him. The Apostle Paul also experienced such heartbreaking misery.

    May 2, 2014