Monday, January 4, 2016





            It seems that every year at this time, people “gear-up” for the holiday season.  Thoughts run to such eagerly anticipated occasions as:  the staff Christmas party, the obligatory trip to Aunt Ida’s (the old biddy), holiday shopping (which no one can afford) and, last but not least, Christmas dinner with all the relatives.  What fun!  It’s no wonder many people dread seeing December on the calendar.
            And yet, there is something warm and wonderful that slips into the consciousness of even the most cynical among us at this time of year.  Even with all the distractions and added burdens, folks just seem more friendly and willing to do a little extra for those in need.  From the Salvation Army Santa happily ringing his bell, to the Marines collecting toys for tots, there is a fresh air of optimism and realization that things could be better, if everybody just tried a little harder.
            Within the confines of this seasonal euphoria, however, there seems to be a more fundamental question that usually falls through the cracks.  Why do we go through this exercise in excessive buying, partying and eating every year?  The answers to this query are, by and large, biblical in origin.
            We know, for instance, that the giving of gifts is a direct reflection of the Magi bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the baby Jesus, whom they recognized as the Messiah who had been prophesied in the Old Testament.  In a related incident, the angel announced, “…behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10).  Was there ever a better reason for a feast and a party?  There is no doubt that much of what we base our “holiday activities” upon comes directly from the Bible.
            Unfortunately, many of our present customs have come down to us from pagan cultures and have attached themselves to Christmas simply through our careless acceptance of them.  It’s not that
Santa and his elves, Mrs. Claus and flying reindeer aren’t cute little, fanciful reminders of our all American holiday.  Children all over this country will go to sleep on Christmas Eve fully expecting that, sometime around midnight, Santa will arrive with a sack full of toys and others goodies just for them. The sad fact is that many of these children have never been to Sunday School or church and, outside of hearing some adult (perhaps their own parent) use the Lord’s name in profanity, have no idea who Jesus Christ is.
            The bible is quite explicit concerning the person of Jesus Christ and how we are to respond to Him.  John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  In fact, Jesus was prophesied as far back as Genesis 3:15.  Prophetic references to His birth have been given to us in Isaiah 9:6 and Micah 5:2, along with many other passages of scripture.  It is not a giant leap of faith to accept, at the very least, His existence.  Today, however, more children are putting their faith in Santa Claus and the other “myths” than in the Christ of Christmas.
            I know I’m stepping on toes with this line of reasoning and I’m probably going to get letters but, aside from junk mail, correspondence has been a little spotty lately.  I only write what I believe the Lord puts on my heart, so I feel I’m on pretty solid ground in that department.  Perhaps He just wants to remind us that we’ve let some, seemingly innocent, distractions take our focus off the true reason for this celebration.
            Are we really giving honor and glory to God at this time of year or are there other considerations that crowd Him out and push Jesus’ incarnation into a secondary position?  Remember, we’re talking about the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star!  Is there any doubt as to where our hearts and minds should be centered during the next few weeks and on into the New Year?  I don’t think so?
            The great Christmas carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, tells us exactly what we need to do: “O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”  Let’s put the Christ of Christmas back in the place where He truly belongs, at the center of every single activity during this blessed time of year.
            May God richly bless you, at Christmas and as we venture into the year 2016.

                                                                                                                             PASTOR  ROD

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