“Tis the Season” — for Decision
By Dennis Jamison
It is highly likely that the average American citizen is more focused on earning a living and being able to live relatively freely as they attempt to pursue their own happiness. It is what the Founding Fathers hoped to offer to the future generations as they crafted a new nation. Yet, in the United States today one person’s happiness may become another person’s horror as liberty devolves into licentiousness. Left to its own devices humanity may easily devolve into moral decline and eventual depravity. Yet, the nation was founded upon a set of higher values and principles — aspirations to higher ideals.
The Founders knew what they were doing as they set the machinery of the new nation in motion, and they even self-corrected when the Articles of Confederation were able to be understood as incomplete or ineffective. The Founders knew that their vision for the new type of government was based upon a framework of ideals, but they also had hope that those who came after them would share the same values and ideals. Yet, at the end of 2018, as millions of Christians in America get ready to celebrate the birth of their savior, those values enshrined in the founding documents are as real as Santa Claus. And in a real irony, it is likely that Santa has become more important that Jesus Christ in America at Christmastime. If one considers carefully, did the values of giving and helping others originate with Santa or with Christ?
This sentiment should certainly not be equated with a Scrooge-like disparagement of old Saint Nick. And those who would seek to make it so, would be contorting the point. If the basic Judeo-Christian values are undermined, for whatever reason, it is not difficult to understand why the American culture is in moral decline. And to be clear, Santa is not the reason. There are actually many reasons and not just one. If it were one it would be simple. And Christians make point their fingers and shake them righteously at a number of evils within our culture, but their mothers may remind them that when one points their index finger at someone or something, normally there are three other fingers pointing back at them, or they may remind them that it is not polite to point at all.
There is actually nothing wrong with exposing corruption, deception, and depravity as evils, unless of course the shoe fits for those pointing fingers, or there is a loss of one’s own adherence to the values one professes to believe. When the Founders proclaimed the words of the Declaration of Independence, they stated: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” Actually, in Thomas Jefferson’s original version, it has been pointed out that he first wrote: “we hold these truths to be sacred and divine…” It was lost in editing.
But there are two very important points in either of these phrases whether the truths are self-evident, or sacred and divine. The core of the sentence was “truths,” and the verb was “hold.”
Two questions for all good Christian Americans, and really for all true Americans, are: what truths? and in what manner does one hold onto them? Another question that is possibly equally important is whether the “truths” of the Founders are still true today. The truths of the Founders seem to have become contorted o distorted in recent times, or it is possible that Americans have forgotten how to hold onto them. This time of year easily provides a good medium of measurement for any American as we are in the season to celebrate the birth of Christ – the son who re-acquainted humanity with the preciousness of life and the deeper truths of our Father in Heaven.
All good Christian Americans should re-acquaint themselves with what truths they hold to be self-evident in this moment in history. And to be quite clear, holding is ell beyond believing in something. One mothers told their children to hold on to something fragile (like eggs) and to not drop them because they would break, holding didn’t simply mean believing that the eggs were precious. When soldiers are asked to hold the perimeter, or to hold the fort, it is not a command to simply believe that the holding is theoretical or philosophical. Holding to the truths is much closer to what Dr. Ben Franklin intended when Mrs. Powell asked him about the kind of government the Founders had created after they had done away with the Articles of Confederation. Franklin’s response was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”
The beginning of the article acknowledged that in the United States today liberty has devolved into licentiousness. The government does not resemble a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Good Americans and Christians can continue to play the “blame game” to excuse their responsibility in keeping the Republic, or they can accept responsibility for America’s decline, and start doing something to change it. Good Christians can continue to pretend that they just do not see the moral problems that are rotting away the very values of our nation, or they can accept responsibility for America’s confusion over the truths we once held, and start doing something to change it. In actuality, some righteous men and women are standing up t do something.
It is good that Americans and American Christians and people of Faith could once again collect themselves and gather in numbers to proclaim the values they “hold” dear, and the ideals they would be willing to risk their lives for in ensuring the future generations will be able to hold onto something more precious than a jolly old elf and eight reindeer.
This is certainly a good time of year for American Christians to determine whether they truly believe the sacred truths that all are created (by their Creator, not from some lower form of life from the swamp) with true God-given rights — but even more importantly, to determine whether they are precious enough to hold onto – to fight to keep. Now is the right time – ’tis the season for decision.