So, have had a rough couple of days physically, but am coming back up. I’m also hiding from the world!
I made a fast trip to the store a few days ago and am distressed to see Christmas items on the shelves already. No, I’m not surprised, just fed up with the hedonistic ways of this world!
I sense that at a time of need, i.e., economy, jobs, health insurance, lack of food, our moral values seem to decline into more sensual realms of self-indulgence and pleasure in the things of this world. Also, I don’t like the Christmas season as the world has come to celebrate it.
I’ve been taught and I believe that worldly celebrations, i.e., birthdays, Christmas, oh, and let’s not forget “Easter” are mere compasses of how far we, as in humanity, have fallen away from the word. Why do we choose to give honor to self and others by ingloriously focusing on “us”, rather than focusing on Christ? Where in the Bible does it mention birthdays? Did Christ ever have a “birthday party”? I think not….
Which brings me to my next question: Was Jesus born on December 25th or even in December at all? A major problem with a December birth is that it would have been highly unusual and unlikely for “shepherds abiding in the field” during that wintry, cold time of year; especially since the high meadows in the fields were mostly barren and unproductive by then. (In those days, the flocks were kept in the fields from spring through autumn.) I believe Jesus’ birth was on or about the annual Feast of Tabernacles, when everyone would have gathered for the census and the taxing as decreed by Caesar Augustus (Luke 2).
So why do Christians celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December? Alas! Enter the Roman Catholic Church! During those days, Rome dominated most of the “Christian” world and the date became tradition throughout most of Christendom. Since December 21st is the winter solstice (the days get longer and the sunlight returns), the world chose to celebrate the annual return of the sun as a festival on December 25th. Uh-huh! A Pagan holiday celebrating the SUN, not the SON! (WOW! Now there’s a light bulb moment!)
1 Peter 2:11-12 instructs us to live Godly lives in a pagan society: “11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”
And, yes, I did half-ass celebrate this Pagan holiday for the sake of my kids when they were little, especially, since everyone in school celebrated and I didn’t want them feeling left out; but we just sorta-kinda went through the empty rituals, and I eventually pulled us away from that. But, I never did believe in that jolly old man and his side-kicks! But that’s another story for another day! lol
I do relish celebrating Thanksgiving at the end of the harvest season (my dad was a farmer and we grew-canned-butchered to get us through the winter months), but I firmly believe that we should live in a thankful state every day of the year; after all, do His blessings not shower upon us 365 days a year? Before you say, “No”, realize that you are blessed every morning when you wake up breathing! The word extols the offering of praise and thanksgiving through music and song – a celebration of our Lord and all He has done for us, for the real test of thankfulness and the state of being grateful comes under much more difficult circumstances, no matter what. “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” Psalm 95:2
In “Gratitude: The Attitude that Transforms” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss*, Fanny Crosby writes, “Oh, what a price we pay for our personal and collective ingratitude! After more than two decades of ministry to hurting people, I have come to believe that a failure to give thanks is at the heart of much, if not most, of the gloom, despair, and despondency that are so pervasive even among believers today. I have also come to believe that many of the sins devastating our society can be traced to the root of unthankfulness.
Sadly, our modern culture is experiencing an epidemic of ingratitude. Like a poisonous vapor, this subtle sin is polluting our lives, our homes, our churches, and our society.
But that means a grateful woman will be like fresh air in a world contaminated by bitterness and discontentment.
It all comes down to the choice we make about our attitude.”
And, so, dear Readers, let us determine to live in that state of grace and gratitude that should so define us as His people! For there’s only one person who even claimed to die for our sins. There’s only one person who backed up that claim by walking out of His grave under His own power, because only someone who has eternal life can give it. Jesus alone paid the price so you and I wouldn’t have to.
Have a great day!