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TRUST JESUS TODAY
This article is aimed at those struggling with Christmas but hopefully gives others something to help them stay focused on keeping Christ in Christmas.
I have a confession to make. Itís a deep, dark, secret that blemishes my soul. Itís a secret that makes me sad. It makes me depressed, and weighs heavy on my heart. Iíve hidden it for years, and until recently Iíve been ashamed of it. Finally, I have come to grips with it. I have figured out why I have this problem, and I have figured out what Iím going to do about it. I have to confess; I hate Christmas.
It doesnít seem to matter what I do, as Christmas approaches, and my thoughts turn to the season, I get apprehensive. Will I actually beat the loneliness this year? I am determined not to miss my family who are miles away, and I want to enjoy the innocence of the children, who quiver with the excitement of Santa Claus, and school vacation. I psyche myself up for the Christmas caroling, school concerts, office festivities, and all the good wishes that issue forth from everyoneís mouth at this time of year. The festive malls and Christmas shopping loom ahead, and Iím organized with my list.
Iím ready! My Christmas letter is written in November, before the depression hits. Itís upbeat and happy, as the rest of the year has been. Itís written while Iím still focused on life, and centered in my inner being on what life is all about. Itís ready to be mailed the first of December. God knows itís not because I canít wait for Christmas, but rather I want it done and out of the way. How He must be grieved. Out of the way of what? I want my Christmas obligations out of the way of my mourning. What am I mourning? Until this year, I thought I was lonely for distant family, dead family, even simply, years gone by when the kids were home to fill the house with laughter. I was so wrong, and thatís why I couldnít beat the depression.
This year was the last year of my shameful and hidden misery. Iím not grieving happier and younger times, but rather my heart is breaking because I canít find God. He isnít in the coloured lights. Heís not in the ďHappy HolidayĒ greetings, or in the Santa Clause parade. Heís not in the Christmas cards that are afraid to mention Christ, or the Christmas songs that sing of Santa Clause or chestnuts by the fire place. Heís not at the office party where everyone is full of good cheer, brought on by the wrong spirits, or in the Christmas movie specials which seem to think the real meaning of Christmas does not need to mention Jesus.
How did this happen? As I start to reflect on the questions, more questions abound. Was the Christmas season ever truly happy? Who said Christmas is a season of joyful celebration? How did the traditions we have today get so out of hand that people dread the busyness, shudder at the bills, and long for a quiet moment of rest?
I turned to the Bible. Yes, the angels proclaim in Luke 2:
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Definitely, there is reason for celebration. There is good news for all people. God has looked favourably on us; Heís given us the gift of His son, and acceptance of this gift will bring us peace. What wonderful news.
However, when I looked up the definition of Christmas on my computer, this is what Wikipedia said. 1
ďChristmas (IPA: /krɪsməs/), also referred to as Christmas Day, is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 or January 7 that commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The day marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days. The nativity of Jesus, which is the basis for the anno Domini system of dating, is thought to have occurred between 7 and 2 BC. December 25 is not thought to be Jesus' actual date of birth, and the date may have been chosen to correspond with either a Roman festival, or with the winter solstice.
Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, Church celebrations, and the display of various decorationsóincluding the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. Santa Claus (also referred to as Father Christmas, although the two figures have different origins) is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas for children. Santa is generally believed to be the result of a syncretization between Saint Nicholas and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology, and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media.
Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. Because gift-giving and several other aspects of the holiday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, Christmas has become a major event for many retailers.Ē
Look closely at the last paragraph. Where is the good news the angels told us about? Why are we celebrating? Is this what Christmas has become?
It doesnít matter. The modern world cannot change the truths the angels proclaimed. It doesnít matter what the rest of the world does. It does matter what I do. Thatís the important point I missed. Pregnant with this thought Iím giving birth to a new attitude; a new perspective. I trust God to lead me, to walk beside me, to redirect me when necessary, and to help me clean up my messes eleven months of the year, but in December itís as if Iíve never heard of God. Oh my, how terrible! I just realized how those who donít believe the message of the angels, and who have never known Jesus, have to live every day. I know from experience how depressing that can be!
How does this revelation affect me? What am I going to do different? Iím going to withdraw from the rat race of the secular Christmas, and Iím going to focus on the angelsí message. God is with me all the time. The mistake I have made is to let those who do not share my beliefs destroy my peace of mind, and I have lost sight of God. I have let their parties, their songs, and their politically correct language discourage me and give me false messages that God is not important, or possibly even dead. I lost my focus and listened to the wrong messenger. All I need to do is refocus on Christ, and celebrate his life in such a way the world will see in me the hope, love, joy and peace that Christ brings into the lives of those who believe in Him, and trust their lives to Him.
The dilemma now is, how do I do this? It seems to me I should be celebrating Jesus 365 days a year; not just December 25th. I should be helping the poor, visiting the lonely, and singing Godís praises all year. What happened to ďremember to meet togetherĒ? I know the organized church cites this piece of scripture as a reason to go to church, but Iím suggesting itís more than that. We need to meet together with our Christian friends throughout the year; not just send them a card at Christmas or smile and shake their hands at church. We have to care about our fellow man all year, every day and remain open to God using us in their lives. So what does that leave for us to do at Christmas?
I believe at Christmas I need to focus on Christ. Isnít that what we do when we celebrate a family memberís birthday? We make them a cake, perhaps throw them a party, and give them a gift. Thatís exactly what Iím going to do for Christ. He is the head of my family. I will make him a special meal including a birthday cake. If a party fits into my schedule Iíll attend, but be it an office party or a neighbourhood party, I will be saying ďMerry ChristmasĒ. I am taking my stand. Jesus birth is definitely worth celebrating and itís His day. I offer no apology to those who are offended by such a greeting. They need to hear about this wonderful Saviour who has come to offer them eternal life, and He has told me to proclaim his truths. What do you give someone who has the world at his command? Last year I gave him a broken heart. He received it and returned it to me full of love and comfort. This year Iím giving him a joyful heart and mind, committed to proclaiming the good news about His birth. This article is the tangible gift Iím giving to him and sharing with you. May it be pleasing in his sight.
Ha, Ha, Satan
Karen Macor Feb. 2009
Hear my cry; see my tears.
God, I need you to calm my fears.
I donít understand; I long to be free.
The depression drowns me; God, hear my plea.
Iím waiting Lord; Iím seeking your face.
I just canít find you any place.
Finally, I search your word, and heed your command:
Be strong and take heart; with Me you will stand.
A son given, salvation offered, and the gifts are free.
Yet man rejects Godís son, and kills him on a tree.
Ha, ha, Satan, thatís only what it seems to be.
Jesus lives, and He stands with me!
Iím focused on Him, and His message is clear.
Those who accept Him have nothing to fear.
Ha, ha, Satan, Iím on to you.
No longer can you make me blue!
With Jesus I can be all that He wants me to be.
Ha, ha, Satan, You drove me to Him; canít you see?
You filled me with sadness; He filled me with hope.
Ha, ha, Satan. God rules and youíre a dope.
1 John 4:4
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
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