Thursday, December 17, 2009

How Much CHRIST is in Your Christmas (Annual Post)

This time of year, it's inevitable to read the newspapers without hearing the ongoing debate about Christmas. Is it wrong, is it right? Should we say "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas"? To gift or not to gift? It's a never-ending saga, even in the house of God.

Without getting into tons of history and research, only to come to an endless debate, I want to share one thought with everyone during this holiday season...

So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Saints, during this time, we must remember Christ. We must consider the heart of God. So many of us struggle and argue with traditions and their origins. We want to please our children, but are conflicted about which parts of Christmas should be kept, and which should be dismissed. Truthfully, it's really not that difficult to figure it out - DOES IT EXALT CHRIST? DOES IT DRAW MEN TO THE FATHER?

Even more, what did God tell YOU to do? Have you asked the Father what pleases HIM? Hmmmm...

Now, I leave you with one other thought. Consider this scenario...

A man and woman are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. They have enjoyed a wonderful relationship, held together by the grace of God. At the anniversary dinner, the man leans over the table and looks into his wife's eyes. He tells her how he has enjoyed the wonderful time they've spent together, and presents her with a gift. To her surprise, it's a 4-karat diamond ring! Excited and anxious, the woman removes the ring from the box, and notices some engraving on the inside of the band. When she reads the inscription, she realizes the ring actually belonged to her husband's ex-wife. He purchased this very gift as an engagement ring for his first wife rather than the one he was celebrating.

Now, his wife is disappointed, and somewhat upset. Confused about her reaction, the husband asks her why she is so upset. Pulling herself together, she explains... "I feel like I am receiving left overs. Though I know you love me and that you want me to feel appreciated with this lovely, expensive ring, the fact still remains that when you purchased it, your heart was set on someone else. The original purpose for this gift was to express your love to another woman, not me. I'd rather you give me a new penny, from your heart, than a recycled gift that happens to fit the occasion."

Isn't it funny how we do the same thing to God around this time of year? Many times, we get so caught up in tradition, and we SAY it's being done for God's glory. When we KNOW a particular act or practice came from idolatry, paganism... practices and people that did not please God, yet we try to justify them at this time of year by making it seem like a Christian agenda. We are simply trying to please God with an idol's offering - trying to give Him a used engagement ring. This year, let's give Him something new and genuine from our hearts. Seek His face and give Him praise.

It's useless to get into the origin of Christmas trees, whether Christ was really born in December, etc... We are past that now. We all know the facts. So, we must now draw the proverbial line in the sand. Before we celebrate, let's just ask God what REALLY pleases Him. Whatever He says to do, let's do it. Whatever He says to leave out, let's just leave it out!

Then, and only then, will God get this glory in this season. Saints, we cannot continue to allow the world to dictate how we celebrate, when we shop, what we tell our children, and how we decorate our homes. We are the salt of the earth. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DIFFERENT!

God bless you!

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