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Why Christmas?

What is the big deal about Christmas anyway? Why do people get so worked up about this holiday? I suppose if you asked thirty people you may get thirty different answers. The truth that people take this holiday seriously is not in question. Just take a drive and see all the Clark Griswold wannabes as we see homes that look like, to quote Aunt Bethany, “Is your house on fire Clark?” We don’t bat an eye on spending a little more for electricity as long as our home looks more festive. Then there’s the tree that we put up in our house? Is that the action of sane people? Let’s be honest we just get downright silly this time of year. Don’t even get me started on the craziness of shopping to find the “perfect” present.

Yet, somewhere in the midst of the whirlwind of this holiday we have to come to the realization that there must be something special that has happened. As followers of Jesus, we know exactly what it is. It is celebrating the birth of the Lord and Savior of the whole world, Jesus the Christ. It is celebrating in spite of the darkness that is quickly surrounding us, enveloping us. There is hope and it came in the form of a baby born over 2,000 years ago in a village in the middle east called Bethlehem. It is there the Light of the world was born, to bring hope and salvation to all who would call upon His name.

Sadly, there are many who really don’t understand the truth about this wonderful holiday that we celebrate. Society has made it about fat bearded guys, talking snowmen, and buying the toy everyone wants, but nobody can get. When I think upon these things it truly saddens me. So many people participate but cannot really celebrate because the truth has eluded them. The truth is that many do not want to know the truth of what Christmas is really about. That is why we have government officials who think they can cancel Christmas. Like this is some date on a calendar that can be done away with a swipe of a pen. NO, let me shout it out again, NO! Man cannot delete, dilute, or do away with what our God has done. Jesus, the Savior of the world has been born. I am begging all who would read this blog, do not let the circumstances of a virus, or even the foolishness of man rob from you the beautiful gift that God has given. Celebrate, go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus is born.

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Let me go back to answer the question of why. Why do we celebrate this day we call Christmas? Because God came in the flesh to rescue us from death and the grave, to set us free from the clutches of Satan and sin. He came to die upon our cross, paying the penalty for our sin, so that we may be called the sons and daughters of God. Then, He is coming to take us home someday. Why Christmas? JESUS that’s why!



Mind Games

You know, I’ve been thinking. I think I would have done a lot better in school if I would have concentrated more on my schoolwork. I know, what an epiphany. It was just so easy for me to daydream. Especially during the holiday season like we are in now.  I had sugarplums dancing in my head from Thanksgiving until the New Year. I could not wait to see what was going to be under the tree Christmas morning. It was hard to concentrate on schoolwork when there were so many other important things like the toys I would get, or as I got older new clothes or even my desired class ring.

I noticed though as I have gotten older things really have not changed much. I still have trouble concentrating on the here and now. I would love to bypass Monday through Thursday so I can get to the weekend.

It is not only the idea of being free with my time, but it also has to do with concentrating on what the Lord has called me to. I can get so caught up with the politics of our world. The desire to have stuff, to experience the things of this world. The truth is these things are not necessarily bad. It becomes bad when these things consume us, when they take over our thoughts and ability to concentrate on what we should really be concerned about.

Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” The question is, what is it that really captivates our thoughts on not only a daily basis, but also on a minute-by-minute basis? We just heard from the Lord from the book of Revelation 22:6 that the word of God is true and faithful, and the time of the rapture of the church is coming soon. How would our lives change if this thought were in the forefront of our minds instead of on the back burner? Would we live any differently? Would we begin to have a sense of urgency? How would we treat the lost? How would we treat one another? Let us keep our minds upon the things that are above and let us not lose any sleep over what is happening on this earth.



Erased

It has been quite a few years ago, but Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a movie called Eraser. This movie was about federal agents that put and protected people in witness protection. Granted it was Hollywooded up, but the premise was that they were able to erase your past, who you use to be and make you into a different person. They created new social security cards and driver’s license. They got the people new careers and such. The idea was the old person no longer existed.

I am sure there are probably days we all wish we could do that. To get away from our past, especially all the horrible mistakes that we have made. The times we put our foot in our mouth, or accidentally hurt someone’s feelings and wish we could just hide under a rock.

Then there are the times that we are faced with God’s word and what He has to say about sin. I specifically think about the sin I’ve committed. It is embarrassing and painful to be reminded of all the things that I personally have chosen to do and what it does to the heart of my God.

This is true as well when I preach. There are times in just about every sermon that the sins we choose as man comes up. It is then I look out and see the look of pain and hurt in just about everyone’s eyes as they think about how foolish they were and wish with all they have to be able to do it all over again. The sad truth is that we cannot go back and change those things.

Now if I were to stop the blog here it would be such a bummer. The good news is that there is another part of this situation we find ourselves, and that is the Lord chose to step out of eternity to come and rescue us. He chose to die upon a cross and not just take the punishment of our sin but chose to forgive us of all our sin. Wait, let me quote what the Holy Spirit has to say in Romans 4:7-8 as the Apostle Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2, “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.

The question you must ask is this, have you ever asked Jesus to forgive you of all your sin and make you into a new person? If you have you have the promise that your sin is no longer remembered in the memory of God. When the devil whispers in your ear or the preacher hits upon that deep dark secret that you wish you had never done and hope no one ever finds out, remember you are forgiven. It is okay to remorse over such things. It drives us to never sin against the Lord in such a way again but rejoice for you are a child of the King of Kings forever forgiven and those sins are no longer remembered. In God’s eyes they no longer exist.



Value

Over the last couple of months my wife and I have been enjoying going to an auction just about every other Sunday. What is it about an auction that draws people? I think for some it is just watching people. Let’s be honest, some people get caught up in the will to win and pay a crazy amount of money for a tin of buttons just because somebody else was bidding against them.  I have watched Ball jars full of marbles go for insane amounts of money. Maybe they think they found the ones they lost at some point in their lives. I think the truth is that just about everyone is looking for that one great deal. Whether it is something they desire for their own personal want or need or are looking for that opportunity to resell the items to make money.

The trick is to know what things are worth, so you know if your making a good deal or not.

Yet, there are those times you think you are making a good deal but then you get the purchase home and find that it doesn’t work, it is broken, or it wasn’t exactly what you thought it was. We learn from such things, we investigate more, study those items more to make sure we don’t make silly purchases again.

There are some choices, some investments though we cannot afford to miss on.

Jesus poses that same question to us in a spiritual context in Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” All of us have a short life span in which we have been given the opportunity to invest into something. What we have Jesus calls our soul. We can invest our soul into the things of this world. We can ignore Jesus and chase after the things that are temporary. We all see it, the selling of a soul for power, prestige, wealth, beauty, and notoriety. The problem is that all of this is temporary. You will lose every bit of these things at some point. Jesus asks, what do you gain if you receive all these things, yet you lose your soul? In the auction of life, this is a poor purchase. What I do know about auctions is that every item that comes up on the block belonged to someone else at some time. What you have forfeited your soul for will also end up belonging to someone else as well.

This does not have to be. Jesus said come to me all who are wear and heavy laden and I will give you rest. That if anyone would call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall be saved. This beautiful gift my friends is something that we can never lose, nor can it be taken away from us. It is the eternal investment. Is there anything that you are working so hard to achieve that is worth your soul?