Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Simplicity of Christmas - Dinner #38

     Every December, I see parents rushing through WALMART, children having temper-tantrums in store aisles, and moms listing off the many parties and recitals they “have to” attend before the holiday season is over.  Do we ever stop to reflect upon the SIMPLICITY of Christmas? It does not have to be a difficult and complex holiday! It really doesn’t even matter if you’re able to put a tree up each year or not! The Bible teaches that the real elements of Christmas are so much deeper and more meaningful than many of us take the time to realize.   
     Christmas is about FAMILY.  When we look at Matthew 1:1-17, we find Christ’s place in the lineage of King David.  Christmas is about remembering where we came from.  It’s about special traditions.  It isn’t meant to be a season where every single minute is spent either shopping or baking!  It is a time for BEING WITH those you love!
     Christmas is about having a WILLINGNESS to do whatever it is God asks you to do!  Matthew 1:24 “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.”  Luke 1:38 “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word . . .” If the Lord asks us to make some sacrifice this holiday season, will we be willing to obey?  If He lays it on our heart to meet the needs of someone else around us, will we be willing to listen to His voice?
     Christmas is about WORSHIP.  It is about praising the Name of Jesus and remembering that He came! The wise men sought to worship Christ.  Matthew 2:2 “Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Mary praised God.  Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” The angels in heaven glorified God.  Luke 2:13-14 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The shepherds worshiped the Lord.  Luke 2:20 “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”  Funny holiday songs may be very well and fine, but do we take the time to sing UNTO THE LORD, during the Christmas season? Do we take our children to church cantatas and song services, where they will hear the praises of God?
     Christmas is about GIFTS, not so much for each other, as for the King of Kings!  Matthew 2:11 “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” What gifts will you give to CHRIST, this year? Will you give financially to His work on the foreign mission field? Will you give to the Lord of your time and your service? Will you give to Him your heart?
     Christmas is about WITNESSING.  Once they had seen the Christ Child, the shepherds had to tell everyone around them the good news! Luke 2:17 “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”  There is no other month of the year when the hearts of sinners are more softened to the Gospel.  People who will not visit church at any other time, are often willing to attend a service with family or with friends in December, “because it is Christmas”. What a wonderful time of year for sharing the truth of God’s love with unbelievers!
     Christmas is about FORGIVENESS, and making sure we don’t have anything between us and others.  Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  How can we share the forgiveness found in Christ, if we aren’t willing to be right with other people, this Christmas?!
     The truth of the matter is, this holiday is about MIRACLES.  Sometimes God chooses to do amazing things during the Christmas season – He brings souls to salvation, He unifies families, He heals hurting hearts . . . In Luke 1:37, the angel Gabriel declares, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
     Lastly, Christmas is a special time for REFLECTION.  Just like Christ’s mother, Mary, we have the opportunity to think about the birth of God’s Son and the wonder of salvation.  Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” If we’re too busy attending parties and participating in festivities and programs every single day of December, we will miss out on remembering the real “Reason For The Season”!
    In this upcoming month, may we let go of so much of the stress surrounding Christmas!  May we realize that it will not be the end of the world if the tree has fewer lights than last year, or if the cookies come out a shade darker than normal.  May we understand that Christmas is a time for LOVE – for loving each other and for sharing Christ’s love with others!

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