Heaven on earth

I like the Christmas season. It is a time of year that brings out the best in humanity. The ideas of peace on earth and good will to all become real possibilities.

Later this week our family will go and see a stage production of “A Christmas Carol.” This is quickly becoming a favorite Balzer family tradition. The evening has become an entire event, we dress-up, go out to eat (read – eat at a restaurant with linen napkins), and then head over to the theater.

A Christmas Carol is a powerful story. If a grumpy self-centered man like Scrooge can change and embody the Christmas spirit, then change has to be possible for the rest of us. Have you ever met an endearing self-centered person? I suspect that it just isn’t possible.

At every level self-centeredness stinks.

This might be why Jesus called his followers to deny themselves. Something powerful happens when we choose not to think of ourselves first.

C.S. Lewis, in his essay, “The Great Divorce,” tells the story of a bus ride from hell to the plains of heaven. Everyone on the bus is given the opportunity to enter heaven, if they choose. Most choose to return to hell. The excuses are varied; the theme of self-centeredness runs through every excuse.

If your world is only about you and your concerns, hell on earth is possible.

When we deny ourselves and think of the needs of others before our own needs, heaven on earth is possible.

What kind of Christmas are you looking forward to?