Sunday, January 19, 2014

How about them Holidays?

It seems the usual holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be celebrated in differing manners. They can have the external appearance of festivities without the internal component. In Thanksgiving, the meal is well prepared with all of the trimmings. It is scrumptious and the home is immaculate with the aroma of spices and food filling it. And no one gives thanks. Likewise for Christmas. The decorations are creatively positioned and pleasing to the eye. The tree is carefully decorated and situated perfectly in the room.  The gifts are bought, wrapped, and placed under the tree. The lights are hung with care. They are brightly shining. The baking is done and the meals prepared. But no one acknowledges the birthday person. 

If someone was to ask you, “What are you thankful for?” How short or long would your answer be? Would you be able to write a book about the subject? If you can read this blog whether you use glasses, contacts or extra light, you have something to be thankful for. No, scratch that. You have plenty to be thankful for. You made it to another day. You are alive. You can see. You are able to read. You are educated. You can comprehend. Are all of your senses functioning either normally or partially normal? Then you have at least five reasons to be thankful. Think of how these senses have enriched your life and those around you. That is more to be thankful for. The same applies to having hands, arms, legs, and feet. What if there is something missing? Is that a reason for not giving thanks? No. God is not unjust. He may allow something to be taken away, but He makes up for it in other ways. Cannot see that? Ask Him to open your eyes so you can see. That is the physical aspect of our humanity. How many things are you thankful for in your emotional, psychological, and spiritual state? The list grows exponentially. Would it be fair, then, to claim that we ought to celebrate Thanksgiving daily?   Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:16-18.

If the materialistic aspect was taken away, what would Christmas mean to you? Yes, it is the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. Who is He to you? Is He your Lord and Savior? Is He just another good person who lived over 2000 years ago? Depending on your standpoint of Jesus Christ is how much Christmas would signify to you. Jesus Christ is everything to me. His birth was a gift to everyone who would accept Him. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6. This precious gift entails salvation from sin and hell. It entails healing from the inside out. It entails friendship and a relationship with God. It entails love. Jesus Christ can be a best friend at times; big brother other times; guidance counselor when needed; father and disciplinarian at yet other times. He is very near; nearer than the closest person to you. He knows each one of us more than we know ourselves and each other. He knows our motives and wishes to disclose these to us. Yet, He still loves us unconditionally. He yearns to share His secrets with us. Not only do we need His love, He longs to love us on a day to day basis. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be reasonable to celebrate Christmas on a daily basis? For when we celebrate Jesus Christ, we are celebrating life. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

How many times over the years have you stayed awake until after midnight on December 31st to meet the New Year? How many resolutions have you made throughout the years? What is the point of resolutions? Why do we have them? Why do we make them? Perhaps each one of us wants renewal or a fresh dose of hope. Do we have to wait until January 1st to get renewed? No. Every day can be a renewal. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23. You see, renewal is ours daily if we request it and accept it.

  • Our spirit can be renewed as the psalmist says in 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

  • Our strength can be renewed as the prophet said in Isaiah 40:31, “…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

  • Our youth can be renewed as the psalmist said in 103:5, “who (God) satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Insertion mine.

  • Our inner self is renewed as the apostle said in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

  • Our minds can be renewed as the apostle said in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We do not need a new year to start over or to make resolutions. We can get renewal if we really want it and seek it.

We can celebrate the holidays any way we wish. And it is very good to enjoy fellowship, meals, and other traditions. But let not the external celebrations suffocate the internal intrinsic aspect of the holidays. And remember what these holidays represent throughout the entire year. For it is not enough to celebrate them once a year. They deserve to be commemorated daily.

 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” ~ 3 John 1:2

“Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.” ~ Jude 1:2