Sunday, December 25, 2005

I Just Know

This Christmas morning I was surprised to see in our local paper, The Tennessean, an eight page section entitled "The Story of Christmas". The bottom third of each page were Christmas and Holiday Greetings from hundreds of advertisers. The top two-thirds of each page however, contained the text from Luke 2:1-20. Now, this post is not about Christ in Christmas, Christmas political correctness, Christmas Theology, or Christ being more than a story. There are plently of blogs discussing these things, so go there if you want to rant pro or con, secular or Christian.

This post is about my emotions this morning. I decided to read the scripture aloud to my wife and daughter wanting to take this opportunity to remind my five year old that life is about much more than receiving presents. As I read the passage below, I became very emotional.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."--Luke 2:9-14

I teared up and I was overwhelmed with an emotion that is difficult to describe. It is a deep emotion that is full of joy, but something so much more. It is an emotion that carries validity and truth with it--joy with conviction. An emotion that literally drives me to my knees in gratidtude and prayer. This is not the first time I have felt this emotion. It happens periodically at unexpected times, yet times directly associated with my faith: when I have been walking in nature alone; in my church at the foot of a cross immediately after watching The Passion of Christ; driving to worship on a beautiful morning; during a worship song (there is no certain song); etc. The occurance of this emotion seems very random and large periods of time can elapse between occurances.

I believe this emotion is the Holy Spirit. I believe it is a gift of affirmation from God. Faith cannot be proven, that is why it is called faith. I believe that God comforts and affirms my faith if I am attuned to listen. I believe this emotion is the emotion that perplexed C.S. Lewis which he described in his book Surprised by Joy. I don't try to understand or explain these waves of emotion. I just accept and enjoy them. It is a part of my personal experience that shapes my beliefs. The occurances are real and I cannot ignore them. You may challenge that I misinterpret them. Well, so be it.

These occurances are how I explain to those that ask, "But how do you know?" I answer, "I can't explain my conviction of faith very well. I am not spiritually mature enough or articulate enough to do so. But these waves of unexpected emotion are one of the ways I know. I just know.

Today I was moved and reminded that my Savior was born, and as Jettybetty stated, He was born to die. It is this fact that I strive to celebrate everyday with my life.

Thank you Lord! Christ I claim you as King, and I love you with all my heart, soul, and being!

This I shout from my keyboard to all the blog world. And, I am not angry or offended if you don't agree, but I am not afraid to proclaim it either. To quote a line about faith from a song I love, a secular rock song for that matter: "They'll ask, 'how did you know?' I'll say, 'I just knew.' I always believed in you!"

I bring you good news of great joy; he is Christ the Lord.



jettybetty said...

I absolutely believe that is the Holy Spirit--something that cannot be explained, yet very real. I love the words you use to describe it here--and can so relate!

I can't explain faith either--I think that's what makes it faith! I just know, too!

Amanda said...

I've had those same kinds of moments....moments that I can't explain but that the emotion is so strong that it drives me to do something: cry or laugh or pray or whatever.

It is the Holy Spirit, and often those times come when I least expect it, but it is a great reminder of why I believe.

Amy said...

That same section of Luke was my theme to dwell on this season.

Thank you for including me in the Mere Discipleship group. I look forward to getting to know you all through that discussion!

Have a blessed 2006!

Jana said...

Tony - You remind me of my dad somewhat...just a lot more vocal. ;) Thanks for writing this post and being so open about the emotion that sometimes overwhelms you. Or should I say...the Spirit that moves within you? I could not agree more with your thoughts here.

Tony Arnold said...

Thanks Jana.

Your Dad must be really young or I look...never mind.


Jana said...

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN! You remind me of him in some of the things you say, the stories that make you emotional, that kind of thing.

Tony Arnold said...

I knew, just couldn't resist. You made my day with the compliments and the snot story on your blog. Priceless.

It is truly amazing what used to gross a person out until they become a parent, then becomes routine.