Monday, December 12, 2011
THE REASON FOR THE SEASON?
What is the reason for the season? We hear that phrase bantered about in supermarkets, social parties, sing-alongs, and soup kitchens. “The reason for the season” is a phrase on our lips as much as that of “merry Christmas” or in more PC lingo “Happy holidays.” Pardon me to be a cynic for a moment, no not a grench or Srooge—a cynic. AS we hype it up today, Christmas seems to have room for everyone. The reason for the season ramps up the publicity of charities that bust their tail year-round. It brings out the plight of homeless and less fortunate who are still in dire straights year-round. The financial pinch in which Toys’R Us and other stores find themselves did not begin hours before Black Friday, 2011. WE don’t start caring for loved-ones between December 1 till Christmas. So, what’s the reason for the season? Why so much attention on this bustling blitz of commercial hype. I, myself, love it as long as I can maintain my reputation as a last-minute shopper. I simply stop counting calories during this time of year. My scale doesn’t go up that high. The reason for the season is not an amped up increase of goodwill. It is not the decorations and tasty trimmings along with playing cards and watching football—or this year the start of the shortened NBA season. It is not an amped up charge to become more giving. All these things are wonderful results. I wrap myself in them, whether by proxy since before Thanksgiving or at the last-minute when I rush through Kohls with an arm-load sacks full of clothes for others. The reason for the season is Jesus. Our heavenly Father saw that we poor, miserable sinners can’t do a thing about our rebellious, self-centered sshow-me condition. So, He sent the only one who can. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” AS the old hymn puts it, “In a little stable, Far across the seas, Was a little baby just like you and me.” Jesus was and is god’s eternal Son who came to us out of love. Being God from everlasting, He is perfect and holds the perfect standard of the Law. He calls forth obedience, charity, service all year round, not just in December. He calls forth devotion, worship, and praise all year round, not just when Fox 4 snap its camera shots into some downtown congregation on Christmas Eve. Jesus became man—our sin excepted—to take on Himself our self-centeredness, our impatience, our sadness, grief, and showiness. The reason for the season is the reason for our whole lives. We celebrate Christmas in thanks to Him who gave Himself for us. He was born of a woman, born under Law, to redeem us. (Gal. 4:4-7) AS He once was born, so we celebrate His birth once a year. Believe me, I love the Christmas trappings—I always have and always will. Charities, soup kitchens, long lines at the store, gift exchanges are outgrowths of our response. Where do we find the reason for the season and our whole lives? In God’s Word, in His house of worship, in times of devotion. Merry Christmas. God is with us.