This Christmas is a season for despair and disquiet for many Americans. Approximately 47.7 million of them, one in every six, are on food stamps. That is 16.1 million more than were being fed by government assistance in December 2008. More than 100 million working-age Americans do not have a job. The U.S. share of global wealth, as measured by GDP, has fallen from 31.8 percent to 21.6 percent in the last 10 years. A full 28 percent of Americans have no savings, not even for emergencies.
Most of us are having smaller and less luxurious Christmas celebrations this season. We are buying fewer and less expensive presents for each other. What has been a vague feeling of uncertainty has given way to the sober realization that we are facing more than an economic bump in the road; many are beginning to recognize that the decades-long party has ended, and the consequential hangover is just beginning.
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I hope that we will not be returning to those harder times when a child was delighted to receive the simple gift of an orange on Christmas morning, but the future will be what it will be and only God can be expected to know what it will hold.
The problems we face are daunting, and they are far beyond the ability of one man to solve. It has taken the combined efforts of millions, past and present, to create them, and they will not be easily surmounted. Because man is fallen and foolish, we, our fathers, our grandfathers and our great-grandfathers have left a legacy of financial debt, moral decadence and national decline to our children. This is not the first time a great nation has done so, nor will it be the last.
Jesus Christ was born amidst the still-glowing ashes of the Roman Republic; Augustus had only recently established the Empire a few decades before his birth. He gave light to a world lost in pagan darkness, and centuries later his followers preserved civilization and knowledge as the Empire crumbled in the West. Over time, Christian monarchies gave way to Christian democracies as Christendom achieved new heights of freedom, knowledge, wealth and technological advancement unprecedented in the history of man.
But Christendom, in Europe and America alike, has gradually turned away from Jesus Christ and returned to the pagan darkness from which it emerged more than 1,000 years ago. The blessings it realized from its Christian virtues are gradually fading away; post-Christian America is already less free and less wealthy than it was before, and it is only a matter of time before its knowledge and technology begins to fade away as well.
The political idol of democracy cannot restore hope, because that false god is, at least in part, the architect of post-Christian decline. It doesn't matter if Democrats are in office or if Republicans hold power; as we have already seen, the nation's decline proceeds regardless of who presides over it. New hope will only come from national repentance and a return to the Way, the Truth and the Life.
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Our Founding Fathers knew this. John Adams wrote: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." In abandoning biblical morality and the Christian faith, Americans have rendered their Constitution irrelevant and invalid. Those who deny truth do not hesitate to torture law in the service of their lies.
The wheel has turned. The dark has risen. Winter has come. But the mystery of Christmas confounds the wisdom of the world. The Word became flesh and came to dwell amongst us. Now, as always, the story of the child in the manger offers hope to the hopeless. It offers light in the darkness. Though the holiday lights this Christmas may be a little dimmed, the Light of Jesus Christ, Man's Lord and Savior, only shines the brighter.
Merry Christmas, and may God bless us, every one.
Postscript: As a little Christmas gift to readers, I am giving away copies of my recently published novella, "A Magic Broken," for free on Amazon Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.