Comfort and Joy

Comfort and Joy

All_I_want_for_ChristmasEvery year the stores stock up on Christmas goodies earlier and earlier, but I was shocked to hear Christmas music playing a week before Thanksgiving. At first I was irritated about how idiotic it is to start Christmas caroling in the middle of November, but then I took a second to listen to the song being played. I typically hate songs like “Deck the Halls” or “Oh Christmas Tree,” but the song that was playing was “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”It’s a catchy tune, as are most Christmas songs and I found myself singing under my breath… “God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay…Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day…” Hold on a second— WHAT??? “Remember Christ our Savior”??? Then the next line of the song came: “To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.” I was absolutely in awe. I was singing a worship song in Walgreens, that Walgreens was playing!They weren’t playing a song about mom puckering up to a fat guy in a red suit, hoping for bicuspids on Christmas morning, an Italian donkey dancing the tarantella, or Kris Kringle watching you while you sleep (which, by the way, is really creepy when you think about it). That very moment I wasn’t hearing any of those Christmas “classics” that we’ve all grown accustomed to. Instead, I was smack-dab in the hair-product aisle listening to my Savior’s birthday song. “Oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy. Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.” I was more than joyful at that moment.Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an extremist trying to tell you that all the other songs are of the devil. But to be quite honest, if that’s what you think Christmas is all about – Santa Claus, Elves, and Reindeer, or even if you think it’s about being a good person and giving gifts to others, then maybe your perspective has been influenced by Satan.WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY??? SATAN???? Wait a minute now. Don’t have a hissy fit and start writing a blog about me because I insinuated that you may have been influenced by Satan… Just here me out. Christmas is a birthday celebration for Jesus. Yes we do good things like give gifts to others, just as the wise men did when they came to Jesus, but that’s not the point of Christmas. The point is that Jesus was born. HE is the gift! He is the gift we need to receive and He’s the gift we need to give. Satan would love nothing more than to nullify the holiday meant for celebrating the birth of the very One who pulverized him.I’m pretty sure that the majority of people don’t overtly go prancing around boycotting Jesus on Christmas, running through the streets yelling “Hail Santa Claus and his wee little elves!” Instead what we do is make ourselves out to be good people, buying gifts for loved ones, maybe even strangers who are less fortunate. We exalt ourselves. We sing happy songs about decorating Christmas trees and making snowmen, we throw a Christmas party at the office, we bombard stores and trample people on Black Friday just to get the biggest sales on our gifts (By the way, I’m almost positive that trampling people isn’t something a “good” person would do), but then we ignore the very reason why we’re celebrating the holiday in the first place.It’s interesting to note that the last verse of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is this: “Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place. And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace. This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.”Please don’t get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of buying, wrapping, and giving gifts, that you miss out on the best gift that ever was and ever will be offered to you – Jesus. His birth was so monumental because he came to reconcile us to (or in other words make peace with) God. We were dead and deserving of God’s wrath because of our sin.This God who made the entire universe humbled himself and was born as a helpless baby. He did this just so that he could bring us life by living like we were intended to live, and dying the death that we deserve! If Jesus Christ, doesn’t bring you comfort and joy, than I’m convinced nothing else will.

5 Things Keeping You from RADIATE2014

5 Things Keeping You from RADIATE2014

Race and the Gospel by Darryl Smith

Race and the Gospel by Darryl Smith