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Posts Tagged ‘#merrychristmas’

Christmas Day has arrived … with no pomp and circumstance, no concerts or parties, no midnight mass or carol sing, no large family gatherings, no hayrides or white elephant exchanges, no mistletoe or warm hugs to share.

It is as if our world’s Christmas has been ‘Grinched’ by Covid.

Yet, the Grinch learned something in his quest to ‘steal’ Christmas from the Whos …

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

In July the comet NEOWISE made it’s flashy appearance across the skies. In mid December South America was treated to a total eclipse of the sun. Just days ago the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter occurred creating a visible ‘star’ which has been called the Christmas Star (as a bow to the three conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter in May, September and December of 7 BC). While the world’s collective heads have been bowed this year with a pandemic, isolation, racial struggles, loss of freedoms, political power-tripping, fires, floods and our cell phones … the natural universe would seem to be calling us to lift our heads.

Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens.

Psalm 123:1

It is easy to feel a sense of fear and loss this Christmas season.

I feel it, as our Christmas dinner will just be hubby, our son and I … our household bubble.

Yet, Christmas Day is here. The day to celebrate what is here … the Spirit of the God, through our acceptance of Jesus, who is God with us. This day is one of thanksgiving for our Redeemer, who takes away the loneliness, the fear, the anxiety, the sin that is within our humanity.

May we look up this Christmas day. Past the pandemic, the lack of Christmas gathering, the sorrows, the pains, past our melancholy misery for holiday nostalgia of past years … may our eyes be fixed on the gift from heaven, that takes away the sin of the world.

“Let every heart prepare him room”

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post called Where is Jesus this Christmas? In this post I was reflecting on our expectation, as Christians, that the world around us acknowledge our faith (i.e. wishing us a Merry Christmas, rather than Happy Holidays … by the way, the root origin of the word ‘holiday’ is holy day).

So, I decided to put my actions where my computer key-tapping fingers are, and do myself a little Festivus experiment.

Since the writing of the post, in early December, I have been intentional in wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I have done so at every grocery store, retail business, coffee shop and restaurant. I have done it at my hair stylist’s shop, the gas station, with neighbours, and to strangers who I have held a door open for.

Despite the fact that many (I would guess most) of the people who I interacted with, are probably not confessing followers of Jesus Christ, and despite the fact that one of two business have declared that their employees would not be wishing customers a Merry Christmas,

not one person returned my Merry Christmas with anything but, “Merry Christmas” in return.

NOT ONE!

So, fellow followers of Christ … could it be that this has become an issue because we  have failed at initiating the conversation?

Paul tell us, in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

What we need to remember is that Paul is not referring to slavery at the hands of non-believers, but slavery to the laws that they, as Jewish believers, held so dear.

Paul continues in his explanation of freedom in Christ …

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (v. 13-15)

Hum … could he be saying that if we do not love each other we might destroy each other (and the very reason for the Christ mass / Christmas?). Then he continues with a fruit bowl filled with something that can nourish us, and those around us …

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

 

Folks, the world will follow our lead … but we need to lead, and we need to do so from a place of love, not the law.

For, as Jesus, himself, reminds us, (Matthew 5:13-16):

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Want a New Years (a new Life) Resolution?:

If we are the light, shine like we are reflecting the one who came at Christmas and who resides in us.

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“It gets darker and darker and then came baby Jesus.”

Ann Lamont shared the words, above, spoken in her presence by poet and author, Wendell Berry. It was a dark and stormy December day.

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Today is a rather dark day, as the sound of rain falling interrupts the Christmas music playing in our house. Or is the music interrupting the rain falling?

In our world there is much darkness, much hatred, much too little peace … too little peace on Earth.

Darkness is the backdrop of our world and our lives, today, as it was that first Christmas, when love and light came to us in the form of baby. The innocence of a helpless, dependent baby, in the arms of his mother, who he came to save.

Delivered in the arms of a world, who he came to save, to redeem.

And, as a helpless babe, he was entrusted to a dark dark world. A world given the choice to love him, or reject him. To embrace him, or abandon him.

But, this celebration of Christmas is about how the light of that helpless babe still shines.

It shines in his birth foretold so long before fulfilled.

It shines in the Christmas story fulfilling the prophesy.

It shines in you and me, those of us who claim his redemption, who live illuminated by his love within us.

Merry Christmas is not a message for red cupped retailers, or turkey dinners or reindeers with lit noses.

Merry Christmas is the message of the word, become flesh, in the form of a baby, arms stretched open towards all of humanity, giving light to a dark world.

CHRISTMAS hath darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon,
Christmas hath a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas hath a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Earth, strike up your music,
Birds that sing and bells that ring;
Heaven hath answering music
For all Angels soon to sing:
Earth, put on your whitest
Bridal robe of spotless snow:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.”

Christina Rossetti

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