Books

The Devil Made Me Do It

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Devil. (Insert needle being drug across a record sound effect.) I know that seems really odd since we are just days away from celebrating the birth of Jesus.  Don’t think I haven’t noticed that little fact and don’t think I haven’t been mentally saving this blog topic for this particular moment.  Honestly, I’ve been thinking about the Devil for quite a while. Earlier this year, I read the often forgotten C.S. Lewis classic, The Screwtape Letters. If you’ve never read it, here’s the Cliffs Notes version. It’s an exchange of letters between two demons, a senior demon and his nephew, regarding the nephew’s work in bringing down some random guy.  The letters talk about how it’s important to make the random man question his faith and use every day struggles and bad events (like war) to the demon’s advantage. Basically, the demons prey on human nature and even say the path to hell is a slow one and to take advantage of it after all they (the demons) have nothing but time.

Now before I go any further it’s full disclosure time. I’m a Christian. I got to church on a semi basis.  Yes, Annelle I pray. (Steel Magnolias reference) But, I never really talk about my core religious beliefs or religion in general with most people.  I certainly don’t talk about it like some of my friends.  I am in no way disparaging these friends.  They are very secure in their beliefs and I applaud them.  However, to me, religion feels very personal and I feel very weird sharing my views with anyone.  I’d go so far as to say I’d probably walk naked down the street before I spoke about my core religious beliefs.  So, you can see this entry really puts me out of my comfort zone.  Now back to my point, I have often heard my more vocally religious friends say things like, “The Devil is testing me.” I never said anything when I heard this phrase but I never really bought into that belief.  It was always my opinion that the Devil had bigger fish to fry than worry about me, some random lady with no particular influence.  Then I read Screwtape Letters.  It totally shook some of my core beliefs and the way I looked at the world around me.

I started to wonder if all of our petty problems and death by a thousand papercuts moments were really just the Devil trying to drag us down and do bad?  What about war, injustice and the us versus them mentality our country is currently experiencing? Is that the Devil introducing doubt, negative energy, insert favorite adjective here, into our subconscious? Or, is this just the progression of things and life just playing out?  I’ve always believed humans had free will to make our own decisions, both good and bad.  But, what if we really don’t have as much free will as we always believed.  The whole thing is certainly a head scratcher and could be debated for an eternity.
And now back to being days away Christmas. I don’t know about you but I’m not feeling it this year.  I’m not feeling the Christmas spirit and I’m not sure why.  Christmas is my favorite holiday. I have my shopping done. I sent out Christmas cards for the first time since 2011. I put up decorations.  I made the traditional foods.  I watched the shows and movies. And yet, something is missing and still feels off.  My thoughts drifted back to The Screwtape Letters and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was all the Devil’s doing or if I was just having an ‘off’ year.  Are you dear reader feeling the same way or is it just me?  Are these feelings just a reaction to so many sad instances of the year (hurricanes, floods, fires, shootings, etc.) or is this something more sinister?  I don’t have an answer.  I suspect much like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop, the world may never know.

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