Points to Ponder: We Wish You a Merry Winter Solstice...!
Points to Ponder
We Wish You a Merry Winter Solstice...!
When the time after Thanksgiving comes, I begin reflecting on what I might "ponder" about for this column. It seems that we have a relatively recent addition to our Christmas season traditions. Along with lighted trees, silver bells, Santa Claus and all that, there are the annual lamentations over how commercial this season has become. After all, one of the leading measurements of the health of our national economy is the sales volume during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So we Christians who preach and teach are duty-bound to remind our brothers and sisters that "Jesus is the reason for the season". How easy it is to lose Jesus.
Funny that the secular humanists, the ACLU, and the like remember the Reason for the Season better than we do. We Christians could learn from these zealous non-believers. I have to smile when I think of how determined some atheists are to defend our nation from people who worship something, Someone, who in their minds does not exist. I got to thinking also that some Christians--particularly conservatives--are a little too hard on these people. I hear the talk show hosts on Christian radio and some of the preachers getting riled up by these folks who fight against the non-existent Deity who we worship. Why not just follow the simple biblical admonition to love one's enemies, to bless those who curse you?
How about for Christmas this year, or for your Winter Solstice celebration, you do some blessing. If we can cheer up the sick and the lonely with a "card shower", why not do the same for your local branch of the ACLU or some other group who opposes public acknowledgement of the Lord?
Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:20-21 NKJV)
How can you bless your neighbors, friends, and these pesky organizations that seem devoted to erasing any reference to God from our society? In regard to those whom we personally know, scripture guides us in the simple (albeit not so easy) idea of "killing them with kindness".
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse..." Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. (Romans 12:14,17 NKJV)
The NIV Bible renders verse 17 in this way: "Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody". There is so much we can do--and ought to do--to keep Christ in the season. How could we forget Him if we, His followers, stayed intently grounded in both attitude and actions on the Rock? And as the land grows darker and colder outside, and people's behavior seems to come from a darkened inside, that's when the light we are called to be will shine brightest.
It intrigues me how God patiently puts up with foolishness and downright wickedness. God actually loves the wicked. People you despise are dear to His heart. Isn't it amazing? I ponder that sometimes. Then, when I think of my own attitude and actions I'm thankful.
So as we enter this season after Turkey Day (can't say Thanksgiving, can we? That implies we're thanking Someone); and we move toward the "Winter Solstice" rush, how shall we keep Jesus in the season? With all the "Winter Break" presents piled up for the kids and all those Happy Holiday cards to buy and send, can we be a blessing to those who are working so hard to get Christ out of Christmas (and everything else)?
Getting upset and panicky about the downward slide of our nation (riding to Hell in a one-horse sleigh, so to speak), will not put the brakes on it. As Paul said: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)
Can't we be creative with this? We are, after all, temples of God (I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20). And John reminds us of the power we have: "You are of God, little children...because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (I John 4:4)
So brainstorm some ideas. Why not have your choir or children's choir serenade the local ACLU office? How about having your church do a card shower, pouring out best wishes and loving prayers to your chief opponent in your community? Wouldn't it be wonderful to bless Michael Newdow, the atheist lawyer who's been trying to expunge references to God from the pledge and from our currency? Imagine--not hate mail (such a man would expect that and be validated in his beliefs)--but LOVEMAIL pouring into his home. Very cool.
There is a way, even many ways, to make Christ the Star and center of the season. But if He is not first the Lord of our homes and the central theme of our own Christmas traditions, then why should the culture accommodate Him? The world is lost. It won't find the way by itself. It's a dark place desperately in need of light. We are called to bear the light.
How will you bear the light of Jesus Christ with your own life this year?
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.