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Blessed are those who mourn. Matthew 5:4

One of the hallmarks of popular religion in America today is that “the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”[1]Listening to some Christian teaching one definitely gets the impression that a Christian should never feel down and out, but rather that life should always be sunny.And according to such people, if you believe the gospel, you should always be smiling and laughing, even in the face of difficulty and hardship.Or, at the very least, the emphasis in much preaching and teaching today leaves little space for the place of mourning in the life of the Christian.
There is thus a mighty contrast, then, not only between Christ’s teaching and the world, but also between our Lord’s teaching and many popular religious emphases.For our Lord says, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”Not only does mourning have a place in the Christian life, it carries with it a blessing: those who mourn shall be comforted.Note the way our Lord puts it in Lu…

A Christmas Commission

The world has taken a season which in the Christian calendar was originally meant to point up the great truths of the incarnation and the coming of the Son of God into the world to save sinners and turned it into the worship of the Self.The Christmas holiday is no longer about looking out of ourselves to consider great truths, it is all about looking to ourselves and making ourselves feel good, at least for a few weeks.It’s all about getting the fuzzies and nostalgia and eating a lot of good food and exchanging presents.We’ve commercialized it so that Christ is at best peripheral to the season, even for many Christians.Santa has replaced Christ (this is true on other levels as well!), and the mall the manger.
There is, however, even for those who remain committed to a Christ-centered perspective on this season a tendency to turn inward in ways that are not right.I am guilty of this.This is not only true of the Christmas season; it is a perennial danger for orthodox believers.We can bec…