CHRISTMAS IS COMING
Christmas is just around the corner: the jumpers are ready, the turkey ordered, carols play over the tannoy, and the tree will soon be up awaiting its splendour. The question is, ‘What is it all for?’
Is the answer to the conundrum that is Christmas, to honour the Lord by withdrawing from the festivities; or to carve out more time for 'church' in the press of preparations?
I suggest there is a third way: to see the stuff of Christmas filled with His presence and power.
Our lives are supposed to be faith-filled—all the time—with no exceptions. Paul, writing to the Romans, makes the very strong statements that, ‘the righteous will live by faith’, and ‘everything that does not come from faith is sin’! [Romans 1:17, 14:23]. In his day, one of the pressing concerns was whether Christians should obey Hebrew dietary laws, and whether meat bought in the market place had been used in pagan practices. Paul’s response was that the choice was down to personal conviction; but whatever they did, the real issue was the faith they invested in their meals, rather than the question of sources and requirements [Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8].
We can apply this principle to the issue of Christmas. The origins of many of our festive customs are lost in the mists of time, and are a real stumbling block to some; the honest response for these people must be withdrawal from the activities which cause unrest. However for those of us who have no issues of conscience in keeping these traditions, their true value in the present is determined by the faith we invest in them.
The extract above is from my book, ‘Let the Trees Rejoice!’ which explores how our Christmas Tree custom can be both the means of encountering Emmanuel, and a powerful Kingdom tool in our hands. More excerpts will follow next week.....
In the frenzy that is the modern Christmas, I hope that some of these thoughts will leave you feeling inspired, refreshed and expectant.
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