I found it odd this year…maybe you did too…that several mass merchandise retailers decided that the 12 days of Christmas occurred in the days leading up to Christmas, not the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany. Kinda sad that the secular world will probably believe that the song Twelve Days of Christmas is a marketing ploy to build even more stress and excitement around the days leading up to Christmas, instead of building the excitement that the world will recognized Jesus, Emmanuel, God With Us…is the manifestation of God on Earth, come to save us all.
The secularization of Christmas is vast and perplexing. I know many people who are not “religious” (whatever that means) but still accept presents on December 25 with a tree, and take the day off from work, etc. If you don’t believe in Christ, why would you celebrate the feast of his birthday with a day off and all the other trappings of the season? It is because of the secularization of the holiday. Am I suggesting we get rid of the corporate holiday? No. I’m just sayin.
I’m not Druid, so I don’t celebrate Samhain as a holiday. I’m not Jewish, so I don’t celebrate Yom Kippur. I don’t DIS those holidays – please know that your holiday is yours to celebrate. It doesn’t bother me a bit. I’m not really speaking of those who adhere to a religion.
No, instead those who claim almost “atheism” and yet put up a tree, hang the stockings, buy the presents and teach their kids that Santa Claus is the reason for the season. And, by the way, it just puzzles me. I’m not really mad or anything…takes a lot to get me mad.
In the past few weeks, I’ve learned that one of Christ’s myraid gifts to us here on earth is that he came to prepare us for adoption – as we are his “brothers and sisters”, we are those who have been called to live with God the Father, and Christ the Son. If you read Ephesians 2, you will see:
“6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We are a part of his family…we are linked in love and by God’s grace…unfathomable and so truly unearned…welcomed as part of the lineage of the Lord. Again, in Ephesians 2:
“19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
How odd that this little rant about some silly retailers has now turned to a sermon about being members incorporate of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. I think it has morphed into a diatribe about how we should accept the true gifts of God the Father, in the way that we, as children, accepted those gifts that were given by “Santa Claus”.
The more I delve into Ephesians, the more I see that we are destined to sit at His table. We are, when we accept Christ as our Savior and friend, blood relatives and inheritors of the Kingdom. See this from Ephesians 3:
“14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
As I said earlier, I don’t begrudge those from celebrating whatever holiday makes them happy. No, instead, I pray that if Christmas is the chosen celebratory day…maybe in celebrating, we all can become a little more Christ-like. Remembering that the day is not about pretty wrapping paper and the fancy ornaments on the tree. It is about this little baby who was born to bring hope, light, love, and peace into the world. He has not failed that mission. We have failed him. For a final look at Ephesians, know this is where we fail Christ…so work, pray, live focused on these last two sentences from Ephesians 4:
“31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23 v6