Saturday, December 23, 2006

The reason for the season, just don't metion His name

What I wanted to mention today was about "the holidayzation" of this "season." I did not notice it as much in Spanish last year, but now instead of "Feliz Navidad" we see "Felices Fiestas" almost everywhere which I am sure for most of you needs no help in translation. The English pattern over the years of taking the Christ out of Christmas, or just not mentioning it altogether (even airports worry about having trees decorated now?) grows and grows. Some "Christians" do not even mention it for fear of offending someone. Imagine that.

Does this anger me? Am I outraged?

No, not really. Why would we expect a culture, society, world to celebrate, maintain, or observe the same things that we as Christians do?

When I can watch Barbara Walters last night (I am sure it was a repeat, but my first time seeing it) called "Heaven: Where is it? How do we get there?" and go to many different representatives of different religions to basically pick a way to get there like many of us pick pizza from the buffet, ("oh, that one has onions, I am not a fan of onions.") should I be surprised that the world bristles at really coming close to celebrating or caring about the birth of Jesus Christ? A Christ who says the only way to salvation is through Him? That just does not compute in a society where, as Cole Porter said (and unfortunately lived), "Anything Goes."

Why do we think we live in a Christian world, one that will accept Christ, embrace Him, and love Him? Although countries like the USA might make it culturally acceptable or beneficial to be a Christian for a few hours a week, a true Christian is hated by the world.

What's that? We are supposed to be weirdos/outcasts/not the norm?

I John 3:13 "Do not be surprised if the world hates you"
John 15:18 and 19 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you"
and on in verse 25 "But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason."

So, the world hates us, what we represent now because we betrayed them. We were of the world, now we are in Christ (In the world not of the world sort of thing).

How depressing is that? Yet how uplifting! Jesus tells us this so that we would not go astray (John 16), since He knew that this hate, killing, martyrdom, etc. is/was/will be coming down the pike, so to speak.

We shouldn't expect everyone to agree with Christ, to hear and believe. We are commanded to love one another, to be his messengers/missionaries/ambassadors, to share the Gospel, and go on down the road.

When the times come when we struggle with why people do not believe as we do, why we are being picked on for being a prude, Jesus freak, or zealot, let us remember that they hated Christ when He was here, why do we think we would be any different?

The flip side of this is that it hurts to see family, friends, "good" people not get it. There is a dichotomy there that it is not something we can force or convince people of since the Gospel is foolishness to those that are perishing, yet we are given a burning desire for those we meet that Christ would touch their lives.

That is why God is God, and we are who we are. Praise Him for His mercy, grace, and love.

And yes, in this time that we celebrate Christ's birth, let us celebrate the love for this world, a love so great as to send Jesus to live the perfect life we could never live, to die sinless paying the penalty for our sins as a perfect sacrifice.

Wow. Awesome stuff from an awesome God.

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