Pursuit of the Real

By Michael Giere Published on December 24, 2023

No human has turned the world upside down like the carpenter from an obscure village of a few hundred people in the hills sixty miles north of Jerusalem.

All the kings, queens, despots, tyrants, presidents, and aspirants down the seventy-odd generations that slipped through the filter of time over the last two thousand years have, in the end, left only traces of significance. About them, King Solomon wrote in The Book of Ecclesiastes, “All is vanity. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Shakespeare, perhaps musing on Ecclesiastes, penned the famous line for Macbeth’s realization of human futility, “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

But not so with the itinerant preacher called Jesus, whose birth we celebrate. He is the Anointed One. If all the kings and rulers of history together scarcely made a mark, the incarnation of God in human flesh invites us to live lives in – and through – a certainty that blisters to the touch.

The Reality of Christ Changes Everything

The Reality of Christ changes everything.  

The birth was the audacious rescue plan for humanity – separated unnaturally from their Creator and themselves – in the Garden. The individual unrest and discontent from that singular event is the detachment from the Reality found in Christ. It leaves individuals confused and at odds with why and how they were designed to live – like being lost deep in the woods without a compass or map.

This profound sense of lostness and hopelessness characterizes the complete meltdown of personal character and responsibility in our time, perhaps not so different from times past. Mental health, addictions, emotional control, family relations, physical well-being, and the raw violence of both individuals and nations are the halo effects of living without a link to the Real.   

In that separation, humanity is also severed from the Truth that belongs to the Real alone. Instead, humanity constantly accepts a counterfeit reality of life that announces itself – always urgently – that it can replace the emptiness with an alternate virtuousness or that it can bring forth the human quest to find Utopia’s gate.

Time and again, the dramatic emotion and effort prove worse than the condition. It always brings poverty of spirit and body, and more often than not, great tumult, war, and death.

The Madness of Believing “We Will All Be Gods”

Now, in this new century, a cabal of world elites, oligarchs, and facile politicians are explaining – telling – the world that the very DNA of life will be replaced or augmented with computer code and microchips. The “human era” will cease at their hand, and a new “transhuman era” will be born. (An electronic Tower of Babel on suspects!)

One of their leaders claims, “We will all be gods,” and that humanity’s manic obsession with a mythical god will be buried once and for all. Another tells the world that there will be no want for anything, nor will people own anything. And that they will be free of life’s worries at last. They will be happy. They will be content.

But this, too, will be a madness that fails because the Real is not in it. It is the antithesis of the Real. It belongs to the Darkness, its father.   

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C.S. Lewis, the Oxford professor and atheist who became, in his words, “the most reluctant convert” to the Reality of Christ, went on to be one of history’s most influential Christian thinkers and writers. His brilliant series, The Chronicles of Narnia, captures the “Reality” with crystal clarity.

In The Silver Chair, a terrified young girl named Jill Pole is asked by the Lion [an allegorical expression of Christ] to drink at the stream she’s come to:

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh dear,” said Jill, coming another step nearer.

“I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.

Christmas survives and thrives because it bears the stamp of the Real. There is no other stream from which we can drink to put our thirst aright. The Scriptures announce that in him and through him, everything was created. Hand-crafted to fit together. To work together. And amazingly, because he stepped into our history, Christ made a way where no path existed. He is the “Incarnational Reality,” who seeks the Holy in us if only we bend the knee to that Reality. Christmas is with us as that reminder.

 

Michael Giere writes award-winning commentary and essays on the intersection of politics, culture and faith. He is a critically acclaimed novelist (The White River Series) and short-story writer. A former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, he was a senior executive in both the Reagan and the Bush (41) Administrations, and in 2016 served on the Trump Transition Team.

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