Summary: Christmas has become more focused on fellowship, family, giving gifts, and Santa Clause than the birth of Jesus but God is OK with that because He desires your attenetion for more than a season.
Show the video “Christmas Connection 2010”
I was reminded this week that Christmas is fast approaching when I got up for work the other morning. The living room was rearranged so that the couches are now facing each other rather than the TV. Every year this is the first step toward preparing the house for the Christmas Tree.
Soon we will dust off the decorations that have been hidden for a year. Heidi, the bird, will have her cage moved to make room for the tree to be near the window. The Panther’s football decorations will soon adorn the branches along with the lights.
The Christmas lists have already appeared on face book. Black Friday, which this year began on Thursday, signals the crazy, frenzied shopping that will take place. Most will overspend their budgets trying to out do last years Christmas.
And in the midst of this we will remind ourselves constantly that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and fail miserably in showing it.
But as the video shows we should focus more on “Jesus is the reason---period.”
Reality is Christmas has become less about the birth of Jesus and more about fellowship, family, giving gifts, and Santa Clause. And God is alright with that because He doesn’t want your worship just one day a year but 365 days a year.
Here is what Paul wrote in Romans. “In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him.” (Romans 14:5-6a)
When we first read this we may think that Paul is saying that those who do not see Sunday or Christmas as we do meets God’s approval. But keep in mind that he is writing to the church in Rome. He was pointing out that the Jews considered Saturday as the Sabbath and the Gentiles considered Sunday as the Sabbath.
However, he pointed to a group that considered everyday holy. A group that did celebrate Jesus once a week and would not have celebrated his birth once a year but would have celebrated his birthday everyday.
Today I want you to learn about being that type of Christian. Let’s begin our process.
1) Ask God for a new Christmas tree. Every year we have to bring out those dusty boxes and clean the cobwebs off the tree and decorations. Every day our hearts get dusty and full of cobwebs. Jesus recognized that problem when He said “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” (Matt 5:8)
When your tree and decorations are dusty, they are not very appealing. And when our hearts get dusty that’s not very appealing to God. We have issues like anger, blame, envy, pride, and insincerity hanging like cobwebs from our heart. We can almost write in the dust that is left behind from our lies, theft, and dishonesty.
We can try to clean our hearts but we just dirty them up again as we go about our daily routines. How do we fix this problem? King Davis had the answer. “Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
We are always asking for Jesus to forgive us of sins that we continue to repeat. Basically we are asking for him to clean up our old tree. But our request should be for a new tree every day.
Some of us buy a real tree every year and throw it away after Christmas. We would buy trees with a ball on them so we could plant them each year as a reminder of a previous Christmas.
That is what Jesus wants, not for you to have an artificial heart, or a throw away heart, but a living vibrant heart that shows his light year round. Man can create a beautiful artificial tree that has no life but it takes God to create a living tree that has life. But man can take that living tree and cut it down, insuring that it will wither and die. We need God to create in us, not just a clean heart, but a loyal spirit that will stay true to him.
2) Ask God to rearrange your living room.
Soon our focus will be on the Christmas tree. After all that is why poor old Heidi will be removed from the living room. The TV should no longer be the point of focus but rather the beauty of a decorated tree. But that will be difficult to accomplish.
Our lives can be like focusing on the TV. We have the beauty of Jesus in our presence every day in the form of the Holy Spirit but our focus is on our problems and our worries. We focus on our circumstances and ourselves. We pray continuously about these burdens that take us away from focusing on the solution.