Friday, December 21, 2012

The Spirit of Christmas


The Spirit of Christmas

 

“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, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:13-14

A few nights ago I watched an old classic Christmas movie that I’d grown up with.  “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” has always been a favorite.  I watched as Charlie tried to find something more in Christmas than commercialism. I thought about the message he was giving, and how that even though the show was created in 1965, the message is still of value to us today.
Christmas isn’t the same as it used to be.  There are fewer nativity scenes, fewer lit crosses in yards, fewer Christmas trees in public places, fewer people willing to say “Merry Christmas”.  We don’t fuss to find the right gift anymore.  We give money stuck in cards that are never read.  We don’t take the time to wrap a gift and create beautiful ribbons on each one.  We just stick it in a bag, and put a tag on it.  We don’t bake cookies together anymore.  We go to the local deli and buy them.  We don’t rush to make it to all our friends and families houses.  We Skpe, we E-Mail, we Face Time, and we move on. 

Christmas has stopped being about Jesus and about loving each other.  Is it any wonder that so many are depressed at Christmas, especially those that remember how beautiful this time of year used to be?  It has lost its flavor, its ‘salt’ for the world.
Charlie Brown searched for the real meaning of Christmas.  He knew in his heart that it wasn’t about spending tons of money on gifts, decorations, lush foods, Christmas cards and postage.  He knew it definitely wasn’t about a pink aluminum Christmas tree!  But what is the Spirit of Christmas?  The angels proclaimed the Spirit of Christmas at His birth in three parts.

“Glory to God in the Highest” is worship.  God gave freely the most valuable gift He had to give, His son Jesus.  He gave us a sacrifice that would be eternal for our sins.  He sent justification to us, to be freely given at belief in Him.  He gave the first gift. 
In years past when Christmas falls on a Sunday I’ve seen churches choose to close their doors so that people could spend time with their families.  How sad it is when we, His own children, cannot find time for Him on Christmas Day.  Could we not alter our schedules to fit in God Himself?  Worship God at Christmas time with songs, prayers, praise, and all that you have to offer Him.  God created Christmas. 

“On earth Peace”, describes the new way of life given in Christ.  Through salvation by belief in Jesus as His Son, we are no more adversaries of God.  The debt has been paid, and we are free to approach the throne of grace boldly.  We don’t have to hide in the garden covered in sin!  We can reach out to God, and know that Christ has covered us.  We can pray knowing that we have an adversary seated at His right hand, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Goodwill toward men” is grace.  He gave us more than we deserved, more than we needed.  In accounting, you sometimes see the account titled ‘good will’ in the asset listing.  This is seen when one company buys another. Instead of giving what the company is worth, which may be worth-less, the purchasing company will give more.  The additional payment is written into the accounting ledger as ‘good will’.
When God gave us Christ, He gave us more.  We were in fact, worth-less.  His deposits of good will are called blessings, and we receive them every day, all year long.  He gave us the ability to live sanctified lives, to move past justification, to Be holy, for I am holy.”(1 Peter 1:16).  He gave us the rights to be Sons and Daughters of God, to find favor with Him that is undeserved. 

No wonder Charlie Brown had trouble finding the Spirit of Christmas in a commercialized holiday.  How can we commercialize worship, justification, and grace?  Christmas is about Christ, and the Holy Gift.  Christ is free.  Those of us that believe in Jesus are free indeed (John 8:36).  That is, unless we succumb to the bondage of a commercialized Christmas.
Merry Christmas!

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