December 2018 Pulpit Ponderings

Well . . . last year I thought Christmas came early and it did because just before Halloween, I saw my first commercial for Christmas. Well . . . this year I saw my first commercial for Christmas at the end of July – a car dealership was getting an early start. What is with that?  Here we are enjoying our summer (though hot and dry) and it is time for thinking of Christmas through early commercials. “Yuck” we might say – or not! Might it be our economic state that is causing businesses to get a jump start on Christmas sales? Nope! Unfortunately, I think it might be greed. I believe that each year we get earlier and earlier in trying to commercialize what is supposed to be a Holy Holiday for the Christian world. Yes, it is a Holy Holiday for all the Baptized in Christ Jesus. Yet, somehow, we tend to forget that – or at least until after Thanksgiving and for sure right before Christmas. Then we remember to start thinking about saying “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy Holidays” to anyone that might be offended by such a non-secular greeting).

I am providing my readers a few quotes by famous and not so famous people that might get you thinking about what Christmas is normally thought to be:

 

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy,

is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” — Calvin Coolidge

 

“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” — Bing Crosby

 

“A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. “”Bah!” said Scrooge. “Humbug!”
— Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)

 

“Christmas is the season when people run out of money before they run out of friends.” — Larry Wilde

 

“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” — Edna Ferber (Roast Beef Medium)

 

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” — Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)

 

Now for what I believe Christmas is all about!

 

Christmas is not about the Stable, the Manger, the Angels, the Shepherds, or the Magi. It is not about how big or decorated the Christmas tree is, how much tinsel or lights there are; it is not about how lavishly decorated the home is, or how many presents are under the tree. It is not about our modern Santa Claus or what we get as gifts on Christmas morning. It is not about what is served for Christmas dinner, or how many guests are invited.

Christmas is about the Cross. The Cross represents the greatness of God’s love for all of us.  It is about the giving of himself as a new born babe to be sacrificed for our evilness as represented in our sins. It is about the sacrifice of himself for us that we might attain salvation through the blood of the babe – grown into a man who lived among us, teaching us, and showing us the way. A man who would give us hope for eternal life in God’s kingdom.

This is what Christmas is all about. We get so caught up in “things” that we forget what Christmas really means. I know that God is pleased that we enjoy Christmas so much, but I believe that he is disheartened that we forget its true meaning. Yes, enjoy this time of revelry and “merry making” but do not forget that which God intended it to be: the celebration of an immense love, given so graciously and debt-free.

Gayle and I pray that the members of both churches of our ministry here at The Presbyterian Church of Gatesville, Texas, will enjoy Christmas, celebrate its meaning, give graciously and generously to their family and friends, and love each other as we have been commanded to do. During this joyous time remember God and all the things he has done, is doing, and will do for us because he loves us beyond all measure or imagination.

 

His Peace and Blessings to all of you, as you continue to believe, have hope, and do the work of the Lord.

God bless you, your families, and our church, always!

 

As Always – In His Grip …

Shalom Aleichem (Peace Be Unto You) and, oh yes…

 

“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” – Isaiah 52:7

 

As Always, In His Grip …Shalom Aleichem (Peace Be Unto You) …

Until the Nets Are Full,

Your Most Obedient and Humble Servant,

Pastor Buddy