We turn our attention to the subject that is on everyone's mind at this time: Christmas. We want to set forth some reflections that must be at least a part of our thinking in order for the season to have a beneficial impact upon us and our families.
Just whose birthday is it anyway? If it is Jesus Christ's, why is He not the one who receives the gifts? How is it that what is celebrated as the birth of the man in whom dwelt bodily the fullness of the essence of God has degenerated into the materialistic orgy of self-indulgence?
If there was one thing true of the Son of Man Who was also the Son of God, it is that there was not one speck of self-indulgence in Him at all. How is it then that the celebration of His coming stinks with an almost overwhelming odor of selfishness?
The answer is found in the manipulative skill of the arch-adversary of God and men. It has ever been the plot of this one to take that which is good, just, holy, and loving, and turn it inward. And unfortunately, he has not skipped over the world's celebration of the birth of the Savior. What God designed to be a vehicle for fantastic blessing, Satan attempts to twist into a curse--and men become the heirs of their doings. Those who believe Him find the return of the Christmas season a blessing because it turns their minds to His awesome integrity by reason of the fulfillment of His promises to those who believe. Those who are living for someone other than their Faithful Creator find the return of Christmas just another one of those illusions of joy that turns out to be more of a strain and pain than the effort warrants.
How can those of us who love Him celebrate His coming in a way that is pleasing to Him? What gift can we give Him that is as suitable to Him as the original gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh? The answer is as simple, and as complex, as His statement that "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mark 8: 34; KJV). In other words, there is no gift which He desires greater than the gift of ourselves. "Lord I give myself to You to be in Your hands for anything that You wish".
Does this mean that we must withdraw from the hustle and bustle of the world's celebration? For some, yes--because that very hustle and bustle is their way to escape the nagging question of just who is the Lord of life. For others, no--because they know who is Lord in their lives and He has given them instruction to "buy up the opportunities" to spread the sweet odor of His truth among the wretched of this world. Those who must withdraw must do so because He wants them for His gift--not their doings. And they dare not let the pressure of outside things (buying and selling, hurrying and scurrying, cooking and baking, etc.) turn them aside from the imperative to reject the pressure and sit down quietly before Him in complete resignation to His good, and acceptable, and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2). For those who have already done this, the task is to make every purchase, every sale, every cookie baked, every gift given, every gift received--in short, every moment breathed--a demonstration of His Spirit, Who seeks by His doings to bring blessing into the lives which He touches.