Friday, December 15, 2017

Santa Claustrophobic

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

I read an interesting statistic from 2010 — Americans spent more on wrapping paper than the combined GDP of the nine poorest nations in Africa, about $10B dollars. That same year, the U.S. used over 333 million square feet of gift wrap, enough to cover 5,787 NFL football fields. (So says INTERCON in a December 2012 article.) 

Most people don’t give unwrapped gifts. It’s a tradition. And, like most of our Christmas activities, they are just that: traditions. December 25th, Christmas Trees, Yule Logs, Gift Giving, Lights, Santa, Reindeer, Snowmen — say it with me, TRADITION! 

But before I go further, I want you to know that if you come to my church, you’ll find a Christmas tree, garland, and lights on the stage. Most Americans I know, don’t know a lot about the origin of these things, and most assuredly, we aren’t worshipping Babylonian gods and goddesses!

So, how do we handle these traditions? I suggest we do what Jesus did. In John 10, Jesus participated in the festival of Hanukkah, the traditional Festival of Lights. You won’t find that festival among the sacred festivals in Leviticus. This tradition dates from the period between the Old and New Testaments. He used the Festival of Lights (Feast of Dedication) to tell people who He really is [See John 10.22-30]. 

Rather than “Bah, humbug!” this Christmas, let’s shine the light on Jesus. Rather than being “Santa Claustrophobic,” let’s talk about the words people are singing of which they no nothing about. How about this one:

Christ by highest heaven adored, 
Christ the everlasting Lord. 
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see! 
Hail, incarnate deity! 
Pleased as man with men to dwell, 
Jesus our Emmanuel. 
Hark, the herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the newborn king!”

Since many people who sing these words don’t know what they’re singing, let’s step into their celebration and tell them who Jesus is and what they are singing about. We can redeem traditions by helping people become redeemed. 

Honestly, it doesn’t concern me in the least when Jesus came. What matters to me is THAT He came! The celebration of Christmas has already started. Let’s celebrate with them and talk about the real joy that came to the world!

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  John 10.22-24

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