We have come down to the last 5 posts of this special Christmas series. For the final five, I want to get to the heart of Christmas as it pertains to us. I want to really get to the essence of Christmas and maybe uncover just how much Christmas impacts us- how it impacts us in ways we may not realize. Whether you are hearing this insight for the first time or you just needed a reminder, I pray that the last five articles in this series speak to your heart and help form habits that will last for years to come. So, join me as we go into the final countdown to Christmas and we finish with Christ: from the manger to the cross and beyond.
“Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
This is the beginning of one 0f my favorite books of all time- Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This is also my favorite Christmas movie. In my house, we each have our own Christmas movie traditions. My wife loves White Christmas and my seven year old is a big fan of The Polar Express. Aaron hasn’t made one yet, but he will. As for me- I watch A Christmas Carol every Christmas Eve, without fail, and not just any version either. It HAS to be the one with George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge (there is something magical to me about the man who player General George Patton playing Scrooge- must be a history thing). This story intertwines many of the things we have already discussed in the last month. Dickens published this book in 1843 during the Victorian Period. This was a time period in England where many people were trying to resurrect the old Christmas traditions of the past while embracing a few new ones (remember the Christmas tree article? Same time period). No matter how many quotes I use in this article, there will be one quote that everyone will want to see- simply for its popularity. I, of course, am referring to the famous quote by Scrooge when he says, “Bah! Humbug!” This quote is used to portray those people who have seemingly lost sight of the true meaning and joys of Christmas; but what if I told you that Scrooge seems to have it right?
Have you ever stopped to look up the definition of a humbug? Most of us haven’t. We simply associate its definition with the surly demeanor of Scrooge himself. A humbug is a person or thing that is meant to deceive or acts as an imposter. Now, certainly Christmas doesn’t present itself as an imposter or deceiver for Christ is perfect, but what about us? What has Christmas become to us? What have we made it? We live in a country that moved the date of Thanksgiving so that there would be more shopping days before Christmas (FDR in 1939). I realize that this was a desperate act of retailers in the midst of a depression, but honestly, what does that tell us Christmas means? We now have stores that are not only open on Thanksgiving, but are moving their “black Friday” deals to Thanksgiving Day. How many families scheduled their Thanksgiving Holiday around this retail mayhem?
Christmas is about so much more. I know what you are thinking, but I’m serious. Here is what we look like. We do the advent thing at church, we participate in the hanging of the greens, we attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service, we do all the right things, but is this a consistent lifestyle, or an act we put on? Are we an imposter? Are we a humbug? We have our ties and we post pictures of signs that say “Jesus is the reason for the season.” That is all well and good, if we live it. We say Jesus is the reason for the season, but isn’t He the reason for every season? Where we fail as Christians is we compartmentalize are beliefs and the stories that go with them. We fail to see how the birth of our Savior is necessary for us to celebrate the death & resurrection of our Savior. We get super spiritual at Christmas and Easter, but we never connect the two. Likewise, our Christian walk continues every day in between the two important events- what are we doing those days? Are we imposters? Are we a humbug?
Thankfully, just like Ebenezer, we have been given redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is through his death and resurrection that he have hope, that we have a chance for eternal life in Heaven with God. What will it take for us to revive our dedication to Christ? What will it take for us to seek the Kingdom of God daily and not just when we need something? Do we love daily, do we live, do we walk daily for Christ? If we can not say that we are definitely doing so, we are far worse off than old Ebenezer. You see, at the end, he got it.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
The only question left to ask is will you honor Christmas in your heart and try to keep it ALL the year?
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach
Quotes are taken via: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol