Joy To The World!
Tonight at church, we started out with the song Joy To The World.
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come.
Let earth receive her king.
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.
"He rules the world with truth and grace.
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness.
And wonders of his love.
After church, I went and sat in the car, listening to the radio. A Christian station was playing songs about sleigh bells and freezing cold. The contrast was striking. John 1:10 (American KJV) says, "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not." You can tell by looking at the world around us that they do not know him. They do not know just how much he loves them, how much he cares about them, or how much their stubborn insistence on going their own ways is going to cost them. But since they are not his people, that is not surprising. What is surprising is when believers–those who should know him and should be seeking to honor him with their thoughts, words, and actions–do the very same things as the people of the world.
If your ideas of Christmas are mostly about grasping for stuff, you have missed the point of the whole thing. You may as well go for all the materialism you can get in this life, because you're sure not storing anything away for the next life. It is not about getting stuff. It is not even about giving stuff, in the sense of physical goods or someone's time (services). After all, you could have the biggest house on the side of the hill (here in California, hillside homes are prized), but when you croak, as you surely will, someone else is going to get all the stuff you were focused on.
Neither is it about keeping up with the Joneses. If your neighbor has more lights up than you do, maybe it is because he owns stock in the power company. Maybe he buys his lights at a dollar store in January. Or maybe he is richer and better-looking than you are. Does it matter? I think not!
The truth is, your neighbor probably does not have a relationship with Christ. He could really benefit from you talking to him about your faith and the reasons for it. Invite him to church. I should warn you that he may not want to hear it, and he may not come to church. But then again, he might take you up on it. If so, he may even cut back on his display, taking down all of the added cruft (like reindeer and snowmen) that people have used to hide the true meaning and reason for our celebration.
I have been reading 2 Chronicles recently. It is like reading the daily news. 2 Chronicles 21:11 (AKJV), "Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto." Now compare this to a school suit over censoring Christian images in a student's artwork. http://www.legalreader.com/archives/001993.html and http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46920. There are abundant other examples, including some that are more recent. But these suffice to make the point that our leaders are pushing hard to be free of God's authority, just as in Psalms 2:2-3, (AKJV) "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
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