It seems quite ironic that these two dates fall so close to each other but are so different from each other. Advent is a time where we reflect and meditate on the coming of our Lord while Black Friday encourages shoppers to aggressively find the best deal and shop as much as possible. Even for those who claim that they don’t go Black Friday shopping, the constant bombardment of advertising can be quite deafening. Just looking at my email inbox, every few hours I get a few emails reminding me about all the deals that I am missing. Come to think of it, I can actually find one thing in common between Advent and Black Friday…it’s the waiting part. Advent calls for us to wait to be refreshed by our Saviour’s birth while Black Friday urges shoppers to wait in line outside electronic stores. In this season, may we all remember that Christ is the focal point of observing Advent and celebrating Christmas.
Regent College is offering twelve free audio talks to celebrate the life and works of C.S. Lewis (use “LEWIS50” as promocode). Hope I can find some time to listen to it and get to know Lewis on a deeper level!
As I was thinking about C.S. Lewis over the weekend, I took some time to recall what I have learned from the great writer. Indeed, my earliest Christian novels were the Chronicles of Narnia and as I grew older I began to read as much as I could of the non-fiction that he wrote. My favourite quote from C.S. Lewis (and it’s hard because he has many) is the following: “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
I think there is much truth in Lewis’s suggestion that we are inherently selfish in our nature as we would rather not love our neighbour and can easily find many excuses to explain our inaction. Christ commands us to love our neighbours not out of any goodness that might be found in our neighbour or ourselves but our love should be an overflow of the love, mercy, and grace that we have tasted through Jesus. Although some may think that Lewis’s comment sounds more like self-deception or fakeness, I believe that Lewis is pointing towards the fact that love is not just wishful thinking but tangible words and deeds. Instead of looking into ourselves to somehow generate some love for our not-so-lovely neighbour, the Christian needs to be constantly in love with God who is the origin of perfect love. Perhaps that’s why Jesus says that the first and greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37-38). We must first be united to Christ in His love before we can attempt to love those around us with the same unconditional love that we have personally experienced.
I intend to read Andrew Murray’s Waiting on God for the next while and post some comments on the way through. I always enjoy Murray’s works because the words that he writes convey how deep a relationship he had with God. Whenever I read his writings, I always feel encouraged that we must actively pursue to know our Saviour more and more. Moreover, Murray is a breath of fresh air for our post-modern (post post-modern?) times that there is certainty in life and this certainty can only be found in God alone.
I actually did not hear about the My Hope campaign until around a week before the kick-off but I’m glad that I caught wind of it. Even though Billy Graham is a somewhat controversial figure in evangelical circles, I guess I am of the last generation that has some recollection of his huge Gospel crusades. Although Graham had his shortcomings (and I have many more), he undoubtedly brought the Gospel to places and people where it would be impossible or very difficult to hear about Jesus. I praise God that despite our weakness the Holy Spirit is the one who regenerates and calls us into the Kingdom. From Graham’s video, I am happy that he is still using his golden years to explain to the world his hope in Jesus.