Friday, 23 December 2011
On Sunday, I -- together with my Bible study friends -- performed a Christmas skits for Sunday School. Later that day, I went out caroling with some of my church friends at a home for the aged. As I was singing one of the hymns, my mind drifted. Just four years ago, I would not even imagined doing such deeds.
I converted to Christianity in August 2007. The funny thing is, I can barely recall what life was for me pre-Christian, or as I would like to call it, "the nights before Christmas".
As a university graduate, I would like to say that I came to Christ for purely intellectual reasons. But that would be lying; in fact, I think that people believe or disbelieve not solely based on intellectual reasons. I came to be Christian, not only for intellectual reasons, but for emotional, environmental and social reasons as well. For instance, in my "nights before Christmas" I started to love Christ after wrestling with tough questions with Mere Christianity (intellectual), interacting with my Christian friends (social), lived among Christians (environmental) and was impressed by the personality of the Biblical Jesus (emotional).
Things could have been different four years. In the "nights before Christmas", I was convinced that the issue of God was unknowable, or as the philosopher Kant puts it, the noumenal. The problem for my past cynical self was that Christianity was inherently hopeful -- something that did not fit with my worldview. With so much evil, disappointment and injustice in the world, how can one still be hopeful? Wasn't hope just self-delusion?
What I had missed in the Christmas story that God became the knowable -- or the phenomenal, using Kantian language -- as he stepped into history and geography at Jesus Christ. What this implied that the hope that Christians spoke about was a real person, someone that could be known, rather that something merely speculated.
Pre-Christian, I thought I had it all sorted out -- my "nights before Christmas" were darknesses that were never-ending. But something happened in that actual Christmas 2000 years ago. And I'm glad God was gracious enough to let me realise it.
Can you remember your life before accepting Christ? Did you believe for purely intellectual reasons? Why is Christmas important to you?