We have just finished another explosion of materialism, courtesy, in many cases, of the manufacturing leviathan of China. Christmas is not a time to celebrate stuff. It is a time to think of God.
We have just finished another explosion of materialism, courtesy, in many cases, of the manufacturing leviathan of China. Christmas is not a time to celebrate stuff. It is a time to think of God. Yet how little do we at Christmastime or any of time of the year (when the shopping malls are not so packed) do we think of God and how much do we constantly think of things?
China today produces a huge quantity of stuff. It must seem, I suppose, very gratifying to much of China. But China today is not much different than China of a few centuries ago. In the 1500s and 1600s, China produced more stuff than all of the rest of the world put together. What it failed to produce was a pure and noble notion of the Blessed Creator – He who Jews celebrated in one way in this season with candles and who Christians celebrated in another way with carols. That China became feeble putrescence without God.
When I say “Jews” and “Christians” I do not mean Jews by birth or Christians by convenience. A shockingly large number of Jews are JINOs (Jews In Name Only) for whom their Jewishness is simply an inoculation against real Christianity or real Judaism. There is an equally alarming number of CINOS (Christmas In Name Only) who view nominal Christianity as simply a way of fitting into the prevailing culture of America.
Judaism and Christianity are rejections of the Christmas China Syndrone, the celebration of the many ways in which men can make stuff for their pleasure out of creation without reflecting upon the holiness and goodness of the Creator. Judaism and Christianity are rejections of the self-deification of man.
The great Christian apologist, C.L. Lewis, in a short book which is my personal favorite, The Great Divorce, describes in a fantasy the real division between Heaven and Hell. God sends a bus into Hell and through angels invites anyone in Hell who wishes to come to Heaven to do so for a visit (and to stay, if they wished.) A number of characters do, including a bishop, who holds his own classes in metaphysics in Hell. The bishop died, of course, a false Christian, a fraud in his heart, believing that stuff made the world good. Even when confronted by angels, the bishop could not accept that Christ was God. In the end, he chooses to return to Hell, as does nearly everyone on the bus.
More interesting to me about this story, however, is how C.S. Lewis describes Hell. First, of course, it is Hell – it is a place of unimaginable pain and loneliness and emptiness. Second, it is a place in which the residents can create whatever stuff they want. Simply by wishing it, they can create palaces and food and flowers and music. Imagine – it Hell men (and women) really were gods!
So, would this be Hell to you? Immortality, the ability to create anything that you wished (except other souls), and all the other powers of devils – is that Heaven? It would not be Heaven at all, if you had committed the Great Divorce, the divorce from the sole source of Love, and Love, the sole source of Joy and Peace. The Great Divorce was to prostitute the soul to stuff, and in Hell there was lots and lots of stuff – a Christmas shopping mall open all the time and in which everything was free: The Christmas China Syndrome all the time, every second, for all eternity.
But that Great Divorce comes only when we divorce Christ, because he will never divorce us. When we fancy ourselves wiser than God, and see ourselves as knowing more about the value of things in Creation than the Creator, then we divorce Christ, we divorce God from our lives.
We do not need to go to Hell to see Hell on Earth. Hell on Earth is precisely Heaven on Earth. Every effort by men who have divorced God to create Heaven on Earth degrades in less than a generation into Hell on Earth. Countless men and women, blessed by God with athletic or artistic gifts or born into great wealth or great beauty, end their lives divorced from God and therefore from all Love in reality, and end their lives in a self-made Hell. When we choose God, when we do not divorce God, then we choose Heaven. Now, as the lights of the Menorah and the Christmas tree go out, remember that.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.