Friday, December 2, 2011

The Kingdom of God is at hand...

 Like Joyce, I worship at a church that doesn't follow the liturgical calendar, but I truly appreciate the focus of Advent.

Probably because I despise what Christmas has become...even for Christians.

To avoid making a hypocritical statement for those who know me, it is very true that I love and get into the Christmas season. But the struggle to overcome the hyper-commercial nature surrounding the celebration of the greatest gift ever given in all of human history is at times...exhausting.

I don't think we do any favors to our faith by stonewalling the season as a demonstration we (as Christians) are not 'of the world.' We live in the world. We are commissioned to evangelize to the world. We are commanded to love other and not judge. The Bible is very clear on all these matters. While I absolutely agree that Christians can't act in some of the same manners as the lost around us, I also clearly see the example of Jesus who immersed Himself in some of the most vile of places to be the Light that we are instructed to be. Wait...that's salt and light according to Matthew 5:13-16.

So how do we do it? How do Christians avoid losing the message of hope, love and joy that come into full blossom during the Christmas season to the forces of greed and selfishness that seem imposed?

Focus to me is the key. Focus honed by diligent prayer. The vast majority of at least this country find the unique condition of having a  somewhat softened hearts this time of year (of course, there are exceptions that wield pepper spray while shopping). What better time to plant the seed of the Good News?

The hoopla of the Christmas season is as a direct result of the capitalist society we live, work and play in daily.  The two go hand in hand. Is capitalism a perfect economic system? Absolutely not, but the alternatives are far less appealing and often come with a number of governing restrictions that diminish or destroy personal freedoms (i.e. worship)...and that is not okay by me.

So as the celebration of Christ's birth approaches, I vow to concentrate and focus on what that means to me as a Christian. That will include prayer time asking for guidance from my Father for His will to be done in my words and actions. Starting in my own home, I will be an example for my wife and children each and every day. Through it all...I will focus the honor and glory on the One who is the sole source of my true joy and hope...forever and ever. Amen.

1 comment:

Linda Maynard said...

Hi Tony
Straight from the heart and yet honest.
You, to me, are the kind of Christian who makes the Christian walk doable ( i.e.don't have to jump through hoops).I see that as attracting non believers