Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)
- TITLE: Beams and Motes
By Judith Gayle Smith
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He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to put an end to the works of Satan - breaking the chaotic chains of our enslavement to sin. He taught us how to pray, how to listen, how to see. In Him there is no blindness, deafness, dumbness - not even death. We live because He lives. Hallelujah! Shout it! HALLELUJAH!!! He restores our soul - and our sanity. He teaches us how to focus on the Father. He never asks for worship of Himself - He always points to our Father in Heaven.
I wonder how He feels about a day in celebration of His birth, when so many of His professing followers ignore God's holy Sabbath? God ordained and sanctified the seventh day - devoted to resting in Him. But we disregard it when we do our own things on His Day.
Every December 25th, lip service is offered to a wee harmless baby born in a stable manger. His humble beginnings are joyously celebrated, commemorating this cold day in December as His Birth date. We go to church services, children's Christmas pageants, strengthen the economy by purchasing outrageously beyond our fragile budgets.
All this Holiday pageantry, artificial gaiety, Christmas decorations - what reflection do they cast upon the tiny Christ child? How would He react to all the profiteering, revelry and greed promoted in His Holy Name? We, as devout Christians can and often do eliminate the Santa Claus fiction from our celebrations. Good thing, too - as Santa, being given credentials of omnipotent and omnipresent pales greatly in comparison to Almighty God.
When did Holy Days become holidays? The belittling of the term alone should stand as a stark warning to His people. Why not just refer to December - as the merchants would have it - as "Holly Days"? Halloween is barely over before Christmas merchandise is trotted out. Haven't the merchants noticed the eyeball rolling and sighs of disgust from even their most faithful shoppers? Where does Thanksgiving fit into the equation? It somehow slips in as "Turkey Day". Funny - the Pilgrim pageantry surrounding Thanksgiving - and yet not one mention of how the Pilgrims considered Christmas as an abomination to be avoided by true believers in the Christ.
Yes - we are grateful and thrilled that Jesus was born. But Jesus never told us to celebrate His birthday. Rather, he prayed we would glorify Him through our faith and actions in obedience and love for Him. Let's do it! Start by reading John 17. Read His words to His Father concerning us!
He taught us to love each other as we love ourselves. Some of us do not love ourselves, and therefore struggle with loving one another. Beams and motes. Forbearance flies out the door when our own personality flaws rise up in competitive tongue wrangling. We live because He loves us. Love each other enough to tell them the truth about why Christ came and died on the cross for us.
We are imperfect creatures, and I lead the pack. There is my competiveness, running ahead to whatever foolery my heart will take me. This is not what He intended. He did not want us to keep sinning so that He could have the indescribable pleasure of paying again and again for our sins. Shame on us!
Celebrating His birth - rejoicing in the knowledge that God loves us so much He sent His only begotten Son that we might have life through Him. How do we thank Him? Do we blush at our unworthiness, confess our sins and turn from our wicked ways? Or do we simply uphold that tiny little infant, marveling at the beauty of his ten little toes and ten little fingers, not realizing those same hands and feet will be nailed to a cross because we prefer our own way to God's way?
For His birthday, let us begin to really know God, know the Christ, repent of our sins and truly become disciplined ones of Jesus, the Christ. There is no better way to glorify Him.
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