Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spirituality - A More Pure Celebration of the Gift

When my husband, Gary shared with me an analogy that the Lord had placed upon his heart regarding the mixing of good and evil in our celebration of Christ’s birth, I felt strongly that it was meant to be shared with others. So…I invited him to share it with you….

CHRISTMAS!--Just the mention of that word has always brought a stirring of excitement within me. The reasons for that have changed and matured over the years. The typical anticipation of a child lost in a super-charged wonderland of special sounds, smells, sights, activities, music, cookies and gifts eventually morphed into a busy pastor's concern to help others anticipate the wonder of God's gift from heaven which alone brings help and hope in an often dark and challenging world.

In recent years, however, less busyness and fewer responsibilities have provided time for a genuinely deeper reflection and more careful observation of all this seasonal holiday activity. As a result, the word "Christmas" stirs more sadness than excitement. A recent conversation helped to bring into more clarity the reason for this shift of emotion. A story was shared among several of us about a woman who serves both as an ordained Christian pastor as well as a faithfully practicing Muslim. We all were horrified, recognizing that such an attempt at mixing two contradictory beliefs could only weaken, cheapen and ultimately destroy the effectiveness of what is true. However, I saw there a parallel to our modern observance of Christmas.

I certainly have no desire to be a "bah! humbug!" Scrooge, but I do believe that some words of caution are in order for those of us who honor the Name of Jesus as our King and Lord.

There is no denying that worldly greed and pleasure-seeking,
along with heathen fantasy have been mixed with
the pure thanksgiving for
the wonderfully supreme gift from the God of the universe,
sent to us in His Son,
Is it possible to mix these without cheapening the gift and dishonoring our God?

Several years ago, Bonnie and I began to re-evaluate and re-design our celebration of Christ's birth, removing those things which distracted from what is true and pure. We were absolutely shocked to discover how thoroughly this worldliness had infected us and how deeply we had been dishonoring our King.

We concluded that even such seemingly innocent inventions as Santa, the elves, Christmas trees, Frosty and Rudolf had to go. Next we jettisoned many of our "favorite" Christmas carols, movies and stories which had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Decorations, gift-giving, and card-sending all came under scrutiny in the effort to purge the "evil" from the "pure" in our home and lives. Many believe and tell us that we have become too radically extreme in all of this; perhaps so. However, the Bible, from beginning to ending, demonstrates that our God is also radically extreme about the dangers of mixing the worldly with the holy. May this word of caution become an encouragement for all of us to more seriously evaluate "Christmas" and bring us to a deeper, purer celebration of the wonderful gift that injected the glories of heaven into our world and lives.

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the ONE and ONLY,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
- John 1:14

Gary & Bonnie Jaeckle

No comments:

Post a Comment