Putting Away Christmas

While we shopped at a local grocery store this weekend, a couple of the workers were scraping off the nativity scene that had been painted on the window (by our neighbor).  I couldn’t help but think as the figures disappeared how that’s how many treat Christmas. They enjoy the special festivities, the musicals, the plays, the school programs and church activities. They love to decorate their homes and do special baking, and host Christmas parties, but then comes New Year’s and Christmas is “put away” for another year, as the tree and home is undecorated and the nativity set (including “baby Jesus”) is packed away for another year. 

     The Christmas season always seems to create a tenderness toward the message of the Gospel of how God became a man in order to have a body in which He could die to pay the penalty for our sins. Oh, there are always the few who get bent out of shape over the emphasis on the Christ of Christmas and even the greeting “merry Christmas,” but the majority still are moved by the real “reason for the season.”  Unfortunately the enthusiasm and renewed focus on Christ and his incarnation soon wane as the New Year begins and not only is Christmas “put away,” but so is the openness  toward the Christ of Christmas. It is as though He is relegated to the storage containers along with the decorations, and forgotten for another year while we go about doing our own thing, focusing on our own needs and wants and trying to find our fulfillment and significance apart from a relationship with Christ (good luck with that!).
     I can’t begin to imagine how this all must make God feel. The Creator of the universe who made man in his own image (Gen. 1:26,27) in order that we might have fellowship with Him and love and glorify Him; the God who loved us so much that He came to earth, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary, to be born in obscurity, recognized only by a few lowly shepherds and a few wise men from the East, in order to ultimately “give His life as a ransom for all” (I Tim. 2:5,6).  He was raised from the dead to prove that our sins were paid for and then ascended back to heaven to be our mediator when Satan, the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10) brings any charge against us. There He “always lives to make intercession” for us (Heb. 7:25).  What a travesty to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as though He were just part of a nativity scene that we set out for a few days of the year and then put away until next Christmas!  He deserves not only to have a prominent place in our life, He deserves to be preeminent, that is “to have first place in everything” (Col. 1:18).  He should not just be a part of our life, He should be our life!  The Apostle Paul had come to the place in his life where he could say, “For me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). 
     A chorus we used to sing at church and Bible camp went this way: “After all He’s done for me, after all He’s done for me, how can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely.”  To the Corinthian believers, Paul wrote this challenge: “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Cor. 5:14,15).  All that I am and all that I have and all that I’ll ever be, cannot repay the love debt I owe to Christ. My response should surely be more than a token commitment or a seasonal recognition of who He is and what He has done. It should be a total surrender and commitment of my life to Him and His service. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17). 
     So, even though you may have put away your Christmas decorations (or soon will), don’t lose your emphasis on Christ. Let Him be the Lord of your life. Be resolved this year to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33). Keep your heart and mind focused on Him. Serve Him faithfully with your whole heart.
     Maybe this will be the year Christ returns for His church!  Are you ready?  Are you “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us…” (Tit. 2:13,14)?
 
                                                                                            Forever His,
                                                                                                Pastor Dave
      
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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