Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Dead Wooden God

What God are you worshiping this Christmas? Isaiah makes a fabulous point in chapter 44:13-19. Here’s a brief synopsis of his message...

A carpenter draws up blueprints for a statue. He carefully selects an appropriate tree and cuts it down. He wastes nothing of the tree; using it as fuel for his fire to heat his home and cook his food. He holds a part of the tree back and fashions it into a statue. He sets the statue on the mantle, calls it his god and bows down and worships it.

Where’s the logic in this?!? How can a statue made from the same tree as the wood that heated the house and cooked the food be a god? Once the tree is cut down it’s dead. The statue is just a dead piece of wood.

Can the statue create? Can it communicate? Can it control day and night, wind and rain, moon and stars and sun? Can it inexplicably cure cancer and restore someone to complete health? Can it bring peace and joy into your life? Can you have a relationship with a dead piece of wood? Can it offer you forgiveness and freedom from the mess you’ve made of your life?

It’s fairly easy to see the obvious answer to these questions is a resounding, “NO”. There’s no possible way a dead piece of wood can do any of these things no matter how many times you ask it. Most of us don’t go out and buy statues, bring them home, call them our gods and start a religion around worshiping them. Let’s consider a question a little closer to home.

Can you have a personal relationship with your big screen TV? (No, bonding with it for four hours every night to watch reality shows doesn’t count.) Will you find unending happiness and inexplicable joy in your new BMW or will it only bring you debt and stress once the initial pride of ownership wears off? What about the job that’s taken the place of your family? Can it bring you freedom and unconditional acceptance? We’re not so different than the people Isaiah speaks to. Our idols are just more subtle.

This Christmas let’s take time to quietly reflect on what god we’ve been worshiping and what god we plan to worship in 2012. If you look for Him you’ll find the Christ child. The true, living God lying humbly in a manger, not forcing Himself into your life, but extending an open invitation for you to welcome Him into your heart.

What god are you worshiping this Christmas?

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