1998-12-07 - Christmas Cleaning
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart
Diocletian, a cruel persecutor of Christians, found that multitudes of Christians had gathered in a church in Nicomedia to celebrate the nativity of Christ. He ordered the church doors shut and commanded that the building be burned. Everyone and everything was soon ashes.
"T'is the season" is upon us. In honor of the season, today I took out my only ornament, a 1/2 inch santa penguin, and looked at it. However, if you are waiting for the Winnie the Pooh Christmas special or the Beauty and the Beast enchanted Christmas special, both on ABC, you missed them, they were on last night … sorry. Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer was on last week.
Everyone is talking Christmas stuff. So what of it? What is the "Christian" position on Christmas? Should we dive into the culture, max out our credit cards, purchase everything red, green & snowy frosted, and gain 13 pounds? Maybe the righteous thing to do is to thumb our nose at the whole party and condemn it as a pagan practice. After all, there is no evidence that the New Testament church celebrated the birth of Christ, and even if we were to celebrate it, scholars put His birth at another time of the year anyway.
Maybe we can avoid these extremes by doing a little of both. We all hear talk about how the meaning is lost in the commercialization of the "real" message of Christmas. And yet the same person who says this will often confess at a different time that they really "overdid" it on gifts this year. Even when finding a balance, there is often a lack of balance.
I have an idea for Christmas this year. Give yourself a gift. Examine your heart, look deep, and confess to God that this year you have not lived up to the high standard of being a follower of Christ. Confess specific sins that come to mind and resolve in your heart and before God to live like a Christian from now on. This is the greatest gift you could get or give. Give it to yourself!
Spend as much time this year vacuuming the filth in your heart as you do vacuuming your rugs for your guests. If you plan to fill your stomach with good chow, spend equal time filling your heart and refreshing your spirit with spiritual food. And most of all, if you are planning to give good gifts to others, do something for yourself also. Ask God to bring the sanctification that is a reality in Christ, into the experience of your life on a deeper, fuller level. In doing these things and those like them, Christmas will take on a new significance to you and those close to you this year.
Soli Deo Gloria,