Friday, December 13, 2019

Writing with the Fire of a Yule Log


by Joshua J. Masters @JoshuaJMasters

“Am I writing with the fire of a yule log?” That’s a question every Christian author should ask themselves during the Christmas season and continue asking throughout the year.

No season affects the heart of man like Christmas. If only for a short time, the holiday allows people to see the world through a different lens, and isn’t that what we’d like our writing to do?

But there was a cost for Christmas, and there’s a cost for writing works that change the hearts of others. There’s a fire in that kind of writing.

As winter approaches, I like to brew a strong cup of coffee, settle into the leather recliner in front of our fireplace, and write with a laptop nestled atop the blanket covering my legs.

While pondering whether it’s appropriate to use a semicolon in the sentence I’m composing, I watch the flames flicker from across the living room. But natural gas fuels our fireplace, and no matter how many times I look up from the keyboard, the flame never changes and the fake logs never burn. 

Sometimes our writing can be like that, giving the feel and appearance of something real without actually changing anything.

Historians debate the yule log’s secular origins, but its significance to the celebration of Christmas is clear. It represents victory over evil and the destruction of our sinful nature. In his book, Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, Ace Collins writes, “As the fire grew brighter and burned hotter, and as the [yule] log turned into ashes, it symbolized Christ's final and ultimate triumph over sin.”

Does our writing come from false flames that do nothing more than dance on an unyielding fa├žade, or does it burn from the consuming destruction of our old nature? Is it fueled by the fire of Christ’s refining sacrifice or our own ambition?

Scripture warns those who build their life’s work on anything other than Christ that “their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:13 NIV).

If we want our writing to have the fire of a yule log, the flame must destroy something in us too. Because if we’re not being transformed by the fire of Christ’s victory, our writing will never have the integrity to carry the light of that fire to others.

While we embrace the warm nostalgia of our nativity sets, we must also remember Christ’s arrival marks the beginning of His march toward the cross. The miracle of Christmas is not in His birth alone, but in what Jesus came to destroy—the sin separating us from God, overcome by the destruction of Christ’s body and a flame that’s coming to purify a broken world.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth… Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. (John 1:14, 16 NIV)

The fullness of Jesus brings grace, not accomplishment. So as we continue to develop our writing gifts over the Christmas season, let’s move forward with a focus on what He’s rescued us from rather than what we feel entitled to achieve. 

Let’s write from the ashes of our old nature, taking on the refining flames of the Holy Spirit as He transforms us into reflections of Christ’s consuming sacrifice.

Only then will our writing take on the promise of Christmas expressed in the carol, “O Holy Night.”

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

May we never forget that the world is pining for hope, and that our souls could not feel their worth until He appeared—until a child was born to bring a refining fire to our sinful nature. 

Through Christ, your life is a new and glorious morn, the darkness of your past turned to ash. You have “become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT).

Write from that truth. For your new life is the yule log the world is watching this Christmas. 

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Writing with the Fire of a Yule Log - @JoshuaJMasters on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Joshua J. Masters is a pastor, author, and speaker. He’s been featured on CBN Television, HIS Radio, and the Light Radio Network. Josh is the author of American Psalms: Prayers for the Christian Patriot and is a contributing author for Feed Your Soul,  Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and One Christian Voice. Josh has also worked as an actor and crew member in the film industry (SAG/AFTRA) and continues to have a passion for film. He lives with his wife, Gina, and Franklin the Pup outside Greenville, South Carolina where he serves as a speaking and care pastor.

Josh would love to connect with you on his website, www.joshuajmasters.com or engage with you on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Goodreads.

4 comments:

  1. Well said Pastor Joshua. I loved your statement "Let's write from the ashes of our old nature... ." Indeed, our writing should inspire others, but to do so we must first experience what's needed to ignite the creative flame of passion inside. God's blessings; and Merry CHRISTmas sir.

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  2. "If we want our writing to have the fire of a yule log, the flame must destroy something in us too." Those powerful words command a second or third read plus a change of life. Thank you.

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  3. Well said Joshua. I will never see the yule log the same way again. As you said the miracle is in what Christ came to destroy. That's the reason he was born.

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