Brent & Lynn Austring
NAIM: North American Indigenous Ministries
Austring Winter 2014
Contact: Click here to email the Austrings
Dear Friends, Happy Holy Daysl
Admit it, you're a little like me. I'm an MCC (Moderate Christmas Cynic). While I can't wait for the big family gatherings and the giant feasts, at the same time I can't wait for the Christmas muzak to end, along with all the other business. And for many of us with unpleasant memories, or lost loved ones, or a thousand other things that shred the veneer off the idol Christmas has become, it is a tough and lonely time.
Let me share with you a memory of a Christmas past.
The Wiseman Who Played With Fire
23 years ago I sat in the best Christmas church event of all time. It was a community service in a tiny Anglican church in northern BC. The children were all in the usual Christmas pageant attire. Shepherds in sheets and towels, wise guys in gaudy getups, the whole nativity shebang. Even our little Bayden was a three-year-old angel with coat hanger wings draped in a white garbage bags and little feathers aut around the edges. The Anglican minister directed the kids through the Christmas skit, complete with historical errors and comical lines. After the play the kids all went and sat on their parents’ knees, and the minister handed out candles to everyone – toddlers and all. They were all lit, and then he began his homily – a reading that went on considerably longer than was prudent. The candles burned, and the reading droned on, and on, and the young ones became antsy and fidgety. One little wise man, unobserved, moved his candle under the cloak of another little shepherd in the row ahead of him. Someone smelled smoke, and then there were flames, and then there was a kid on fire. There were shouts and swearing, chairs flew, someone screamed, and the room was filled with smoke. Everyone was safely evacuated , and no one was seriously injured. It was a seeming failure in terms of fire safety and a tidy little Christmas program, yet since that night I have reflected upon it as the most accurate representation of the original events I have ever seen or heard of. Indeed, the actual biblical story could not be more opposite of what we have made of the remembrance. It was certainly not one of idyllic scenes, cuteness, and perfect harmony in the universe.
"She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth...The dragon stood in front of the woman... so that he might devour her child the moment it was born." Revelation 12
There was wailing and slaughter and blood, and the young refugee family with the hunted infant escaped to Egypt of all places. Not even the flaming failed Christmas program in Northern BC did justice to the actual nativity, though it was a start. The actual was pure danger, deep evil, and total war.
I don't want to completely destroy your Christmas mood, because there truly is something to sing about... The angels had the idea. They knew the birth was not the main event, but had some inkling of what it would mean for humanity, and they were exploding with joy. We sing yet and the dragon yet crouches. He continues to try to devour the child by keeping him entombed in ceramic nativity scenes, decaying in lame carols, and embalmed in the manger. Anything but let the Christ grow up and destroy his deception in the actual life of a human.
There is a need for everyone to meet Christ and leave the twitching, head-caved-in dragon crouching in the dust.
The God who loves every person with infinite intensity has given us a mandate to take the news of great joy to every nation, and it is still total war. Thank you for your part in reaching the nations through your support of our ministry with NAIM. So many good things are happening as the truth breaks through, transforming people, families and communities.
for all of us... Lynn, Bayden, Ramsey, Celeste and Hunter
Baden home for a visit!