Weekly Sabbath Survey
Looking for Jesus — 11-29-2014
The leftovers are eaten up, the company gone home, so we turn our thoughts to “the most wonderful time of the year.” Christmas. I have had mixed feelings about it for several years. Knowing the facts of Christmas origins, the reason it was started to begin with seems to have robbed me of the joy of the season. But I wonder: Should those ancient motivations make me just throw it away? Should the non-Believers making it into a depressing, drunken office party make me not enjoy the season? Or the Black Friday run into shopping insanity take something precious and good from me? Should knowing Jesus wasn’t born in winter or in a barn like the ones in Amish country make me stop being glad that He WAS born?
One year I decided I wasn’t doing decorating or putting up a tree. My younger son’s family came over and put up the tree for us, maybe hoping I would get the hint. I had to admit it helped my sagging spirit. While we don’t worship the tree or sing songs to it like the pagans did, it did seem to warm up the chilly winter living room. The stockings I made long ago for each family member (even the pets) always makes me remember and smile as I hang each one on the mantle.
The Jesus we celebrate can turn water into wine, a barn into a cathedral, a living room into a sanctuary, and a sinner into a woman of God. Surely He has no trouble with a pagan “tannenbaum” becoming a Christmas tree or even a Hanukkah bush! And, I think, He can see a once pagan holiday turning into a celebration of His Father’s great love.
Today I’ve got those sugar plum fairies dancing in my head and the memories of around 65 Christmases in there, too. I still remember the doll I got for Christmas when I was a child of five years old, and the little bed wooden my Daddy made for her. I think of family members gone on to be with the Lord and the many Christmases we shared. There was great love around the big family table. And, I’m thinking of that baby in the manger who grew up to be the Savior of the World.
As you, my readers, surely know, I’m real “big” on knowing what is holy and what is profane. While many people every year make a profanity of Christmas (note drunken celebrations and shopping brawls above), I believe as long as we Born Again Believers don’t go that route, Christmas is holy. When we gather on Christmas Eve for candlelight communion, I sense God’s present and it is holy. When my family reads the Christmas story in Luke before our supper of tamales and beans, it is holy. When we sing Silent Night, well, you know.
Most of us will be making a list and checking it twice, so we know what to look for if/when we go shopping. We don’t want to forget someone or some thing we need to remember. This year, just so we won’t forget, we should write at the top of our list: “Look for Jesus Everywhere.”
The shepherds and the Magi looked for Jesus. So should we! The Spirit of the Lord is everywhere and more apparently so at this time of year, because so many people are thinking about Him at the same time. That is why we hear the endless quotes and comments about how nice it would be for us to have “the Christmas spirit” all year long. It is during these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that we experience an abundance of the human heart and the Spirit of Jesus. We begin with thanking the Lord on Thursday, and we continue in that feeling of gratitude and love through Christmas season. His Holy Spirit is with us openly because of that.
Once you begin to notice, you will be amazed at the forms He takes. He is there in the bell ringers with their kettle, the carolers, those feeding the homeless. I see Him in people who help the poor and the ones who are receiving the help. There He is in the shining eyes of the children as they move into the mysteries of holiday sparkle, candy canes, blinking lights, Christmas programs with towel costumes and baby Jesus in the manger. He is there in the smiles of store clerks and shoppers, the embrace of parents and prodigal sons or daughters called home by the still small voice of love and responsibility.
And when you look in the mirror, don’t be surprised if you see the twinkle of the Holy Spirit looking back at you.
… Unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord. Luke 3:11
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please) Copyright November 2014
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