Here in the Bible Belt we have trouble separating alcohol and drunkenness. That is why everyone flocks to Bud Light, Coors Light, etc., as the goal is always to assure that one reach their desired buzz at the cheapest expense. Where there is alcohol, the goal is to get drunk. I submit, however, that as Christians we need to discard this way of thinking as well as expose its folly. And the best way to expose it, is to do it better and do it right. There needs to be a redemption of how we view alcohol, and this process requires an entire shift in our presuppositions.
However, many Christians say drunkenness is sin (rightly so), so we should avoid anything that could lead us in that direction (you are welcome to choose that, but your universal enforcement of it is wrong). They entertain the assumption that since a “buzz” is subjective, and could potentially cause one to live up to the hype of the white tank top, that it is better overall to abstain. Then Christmas comes and the abode at your in-laws is roaring with livelihood while your dinner is on par with Ned Flanders. What if we were to agree that drunkenness is sin (clearly), yet a “buzz” was a God-given gift for man. Not the buzz you achieve at 2 a.m. at the bar or drinking alone on a Friday, or the buzz that you get get at the frat house, but a buzz that proclaims the joy and goodness of God among friends and family. Is that possible?
The Bible says that God has given us the grapevine to gladden our hearts.
“You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart” (Psalm 104:14-15)
So then one will say that we can drink in moderation. True. This means we can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer and satisfy our new theological discovery. But lets take it further……one may enjoy for the purpose of and until ones heart is gladdened! That is not drunkenness and it is not sobriety. It is not legalism and it is not excessiveness. It is an enjoyment, given by God, as a means of gladness and fellowship. Why must we set the notches at sober, a conservative buzz, and drunk. How about we put some white out on those and rename them sober and merry. Thankful and thankful.
The connection between alcohol and drunkenness that is assumed by our culture needs to be replaced by alcohol and gladness. Not sloppiness. Not sin. Given this Christmas season, gladden your heart and sing to your King. Have fellowship with others. Pour the reddest wine and drink a good beer. Be gladdened together. Dictate to the world true gladness found in Christ, not one that surfaces only when the worm is spotted at the bottom of the bottle.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)