Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Reflection

Every Christmas, I try to get something up on the blog that points to the Christ of Christmas—the reason for the season. Here in the West, Christmas is so commercialized that it's so easy to forget the main reason we even observe the day. Christmas is supposed to be focused on the glorious truth and hope of the Incarnation—that God the Son . . . the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. He came the first time to be our Savior, to pay the price for the sins of His people on the cross, and to rise again from the dead for our justification. And we await His promised return—to take His people to be with Him for eternity, and to return the second time as Judge to make a final end of evil.

But this time, I had something a bit different in mind. This Christmas, I have fractured families and fractured friendships in mind. For many families—especially most true Christian families—the Christmas holidays are times of joy, not only focused on the Savior, but also on the joy of family. I won't say non-Christian families don't have joyous family get-togethers on Christmas, but knowing the Lord Jesus as Savior and having the Holy Spirit indwelling makes an enormous difference in not only appreciating Christmas, but also each other.

Yet for others, Christmas can be a lonely, miserable time. Families getting together by all means, but some in the family look forward to the event about as much as they'd look forward to a root canal without Lidocaine. Some are impacted by death in the family, and the Christmas table looks empty without the loved one being there. In some families, the fact that some are Christians and some are not also creates some tension. You have the get together, and there will be the obnoxious family member who has to pass gas or say something crude in the middle of your before-dinner prayer, or start a quarrel. You know what I mean. You know the type.

Even professed Christian families are not immune to problems. I know of one family in ministry that has completely fallen apart at the seams, and no doubt this Christmas is filled with sorrow—at least to those whose consciences have not yet been completely seared by rebellion. I won't go into details, but it is heartbreaking to me. I've suffered to some extent in their issues, and have lost relationship with the children, some of whom are living lives of rebellion and are clueless that anything is the matter with their behavior.

Depicting the last days, the Scriptures paint a very sad picture of what can happen in a family when Christ is not the center of it. I often wonder if these days aren't nearer than we think . . .

When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved (Mark 13:11-13).

Sad and grim indeed. Probably not most cheerful Christmas post you've ever read. But I do think it is worth pondering in the midst of the presents, the food, the television and its rather perverted depictions of "Christmas normalcy," etc. A lot of hoo-hah to swim through to try and find once again the reason for this Season.

So I would urge all of us to pause, reflect, and remember. If you aren't a genuine believer who has repented of your sins and given your heart to the Lord, don't waste any more time. Do it now. You might not have the time left you think you do. You might not even greet the New Year. Make things right with God.

For Christian families—truly Christian ones—I would urge you to remember again what this day is supposed to be about. Remember to love one another, and live to love one another. Don't hurt the ones you love, because you won't have them forever. Honor Christ, the center of Christmas, not just now, but all year long.

May you all have a most blessed Christmas. Christ is born, and is coming again. Soon.

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