Christmas Double Trouble!

We have a daughter who is coming home with her family to spend Christmas with her identical twin sister! It is "double trouble" once again at this season. Twin sisters and their families home for the holidays! Eleven people will fill up a house for sure! If you don't know, twins are inseparable! They are a great blessing that's hard to explain and impossible to divide! The best of friends and the fiercest of rivals! One thing I have learned over the years, don't take sides because they can "turn on you" in that moment! Like the athletes they are, they will take up for each other and tag team any opposition that comes their way!

Since 1939, the Wrigley company has been using twins in their marketing of chewing gum. We have delighted in seeing various twins who have been featured in television commercials over the years. As many of you, we have sung along the catchy Doublemint tune while chewing away, "Double your pleasure, double your fun, with Doublemint Gum!!

Wrigley's Doublemint Gum
Mars, Inc. Chicago, IL

There are notable twins storied in the Bible: Jacob and Esau, Perez and Zerah, and another who happened to be one of Jesus' Twelve Disciples, Thomas Didymus (the Twin!). While his twin brother (or sister) is not mentioned by name in the scriptures, we know a lot about Thomas, the Twin. He was so devoted to Jesus that at a crucial time when facing persecution by following Him into harms way he said, "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Sadly, Thomas is remembered more for his doubting of Jesus' resurrection, "Unless I see... I will not believe it!" (John 20:25).

Familial "doubleness" or twins have blessed our family! Being the dad of twin daughters has been one of the greatest gifts God has ever bestowed upon me! It has mainly been fun, but on occasions frustrating, when I couldn't tell them apart! But the Bible speaks about the perils of doubleness or duplicity. We often regard this inconsistency as "speaking out of both sides of one's mouth!" James warns that a double-minded man (or woman) is "unstable in all he does!" (Ja. 1:8).

What is the harm of doublemindedness? It appears, on the surface, to be a diplomatic and even socially engaging strategy, but at its core it reveals a fragmented person. This individual may appear to have it all together, but in reality, is disturbingly and dangerously full of mental, emotional and spiritual division. They are being pulled in all directions. The opposite of duplicity is wholeness. It is best seen in the fully integrated person who is at peace with self, God, and others. Jesus often spoke peace at times of turmoil and confusion, "Peace! Be still!" (Mark 4:39). The Hebrew greeting, Shalom (for hello or goodbye), communicates the same calmness and completeness. 

In the Christmas story, there is a villain who is double-minded. His name is Herod, also known as Herod the Great. At the time of Jesus' birth, he ruthlessly ruled over Israel and Judah at the pleasure of Rome.  During Christmastime, we read how Herod conveniently lied to the Magi who had come and inquired of him, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2). While scheming to harm the Christ-child who threatened his rule, Herod feigned devotion and said, "As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him" (Mt. 2:8). Herod was shamelessly and audaciously duplicitous! He insincerely pretended to believe but doubted all the while!

Jesus would address the failure of mixing doubt with faith throughout the days of His earthly ministry. But, there were doubters orbiting around Jesus at the time of His birth. I have often wondered, what if Mary had doubted the angel's announcement and resisted, "I'm not so sure about this! I don't want to get involved!" What if Joseph had given in to his doubts and fears? What if the Magi had balked and responded, "I don't think so! And besides that's a long camel ride!" 

We have choices to make and re-make during this holy season. Will we believe that Christ has come? Will we make room for Him in our hearts and receive Him into our lives? We can't ride the fence going the world's way while feigning devotion to the Lord at the same time. Thomas, yes, the doubting twin, eventually and after the resurrection, made his peace with this re-commitment confession, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). I think that's a perfect affirmation for this Christmas season as well!! 

Mike Keppler, retired pastor, 
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


Comments

  1. Great writing as usual Mike. You challenge us here to be single-minded in our efforts. I have a quote that comes from a book title by Soren Kierkegaard: "Purity of heart is to will one thing." I pray to honor his and your admonition. Thanks for writing Mike.

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