Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Christmas"

The celebrations have already begun, companies and families are juggling around the dates to get their Christmas party in before THE DAY.  Yes, there is a day all this activity is moving toward.  There are different views on how we should approach that day, even among Christians that day can be divisive. There is no doubt there is no scriptural command for the celebration, thus the very most that can be said about it is that it is a tradition that seems to find it's rest in Christianity. The tradition is somewhat tainted by pagan roots and pagan worship which is tied to many of its symbols and activities. This nation did not recognize it as a national holiday until just over a 100 years ago.  In that time it has formed into a warm traditional Christian celebration for this nation for the most part. It is colored with Christian symbols and some not so recognizable as Christian, but none the less accepted as such. So what are we to make of it?

It is not a time so much for us as Christians to reflect upon our faith and the birth of our Saviour, for that should be upon our hearts at all times.  It is not so much a time even for us to enjoy our family and friends in our celebrations, even though we will from the shear nature of the events.  It is certainly not a time for us to focus on our gift giving and receiving, which is mostly a distraction for all of us.  But for all that it is not, it is a day of opportunity, for when that day arrives, for the most part this whole nation will cease it's activities, businesses will close, government will recess, and families will gather together.  As much as society today is trying to distract their thoughts from the reason this occurs, they cannot escape the fact it points to an event in history when a child was born, a saviour was given, and a ransom was paid.  They may to some great success be able to push that from their thoughts, but this day is a reminder there is something out there, thus they have to fight the more harder to put it out of their minds, and in this I do give thanks.  If for nothing else, perhaps that is why God permits this celebration to continue among us.

  In 1864, during the War between the States, Henry Longfellow wrote:

And in despair I bowed my head.
There is no peace on earth, I said.
For hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells, more loud and deep,
God is not dead, nor does he sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.

May the Scripture bear weight upon the heart of our nation this day:

Isa 52:13  Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 
Isa 52:14  As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 
Isa 52:15  So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. 
Isa 53:1  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 
Isa 53:2  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 
Isa 53:3  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 
Isa 53:4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 
Isa 53:5  But he was wounded for our taransgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 
Isa 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 
Isa 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 
Isa 53:8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 
Isa 53:9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 
Isa 53:10  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 
Isa 53:11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 
Isa 53:12  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

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 Content in Christ

How often have we pondered why we should have been born for such a time as this?  Maybe this is only a question that a few of us have ever cared to consider, but the fact remains, there's nothing we can do  pertaining to being a participant of a different era in history.  We may flip through the cultural pages of this world and its nations as we read of the customs and uniqueness of the particular age, only to speculate at our existence during some "good ole day."  For some natural cause within mankind, the "grass is always greener on the other side."

As believers in Christ, when we walk with Him in the light of His Word, we must surely come to see that He has reason for us in the very place He has brought us forth and at the very time of His choosing.  This should bring us such contentment as we journey through a world of challenge each day.

Humor me for a moment as I imagine the woman posted here in the picture with an "i pod." lol   Or, at best maybe she brings up a cell phone out of that apron while it ring tones with "Dixie Land." lol   In all seriousness, this just doesn't process with the moment.

While it's entirely possible that we have run a few steps ahead of our own era and overwhelmed ourselves with more than we can wisely accommodate, there's a reason for the generation in which we are occupying.  Yes, you haven't been told one thing in this context that you don't already know. If you're going to hear something from the keyboard under these fingers, you'll have to settle for no original thoughts.

 Once again we find ourselves with the need of contentment in this life.  But, in a world where change occurs at such rapid pace, the pitch is always there for more and better.  The hindrance of course, is the lack of satisfaction that always remains in hand with the improvements of each day.  Also, the grave danger of one's focus being on the cares of this life when we're commanded to keep our fixation on Christ and things eternal.

May we once again be reminded of the words written through the Apostle Paul just what it means for believers to have contentment in Christ.  The Savior has come, and so He will come again as our King, in this we should have great contentment as we enjoy the time of our journey here in His Grace.

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

I Timothy 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain."

I Timothy 6:8 "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."


Learning contentment in Christ,

Julie


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