Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meaning Behind the Merry

Have you ever watched the Jimmy Kimmel show, which is on TV after the 11:00 p.m. news?  I admit to watching at least a few minutes of it, some nights.  He has a segment often in which he sends staffers out in to the streets of Hollywood, where they ask passers-by about this-that-or-the-other. There have been times when the poor, unsuspecting folks have been presented with a "news item" that was completely untrue, but it sounded so plausible that the people faked an understanding of it to avoid looking ignorant.

I would love for The Jimmy Kimmel Show to do one of these segments, asking folks about the meaning of Christmas.  My guess is that the answers would amaze.  Even decades ago Tozer was writing about the distance most Americans had traveled in their departure from the truth about Christmas.  Oh, if you asked them, they would say the correct things.  But, what they focused on during the Christmas season would perhaps not line up with their statements.  This is something with which I constantly struggle.

Do you know how magicians are able to accomplish many of their "magic tricks"?  One indispensable element of their routine is to get you to focus on something unimportant so that you won't see the crucial action taking place elsewhere.  Satan uses this same trick in our lives, with the Christmas season being no exception.  Tozer2 described it as "magnifying trivialities and ignoring matters of greatest import".  (I started to use that in today's blog post title but then realized no one would read it!)

There's the shopping and the baking and the decorating (oh, the decorating!)  There's the rehearsing for special events, attending special events, cleaning up after special events!  THEN there's the church stuff - - - and you feel SO guilty if you don't throw yourself whole-hog into that!  The guilt can begin to pile up so much that the whole season is tainted.

As Tozer warned, it is so important that we don't miss the "meaning behind the merry", that we don't fail to celebrate the central truth of Christmas which is this:  "God came to earth in the form of the baby Jesus, who continued to grow in grace and truth until He accomplished what He came to earth to do.  Will you believe this by faith, receive and worship Him as Savior and Lord?"

The rest of the Christmas fa-la-la-la-la is just...frosting on the cake. Now, this gal loves frosting!  It can add so much flavor to the cake.  But, who only eats the frosting?  No one I've ever known....

So, it's December 1st.  This thang is just getting revved up.  Let's make ourselves a promise that we won't get so distracted by tinsel that we miss out on the treat, the birth of our Savior.

Do you have a favorite Christmas carol that says it best?  I think it might be this one:
(Note how the key phrase is repeated 3 times for emphasis....)

"Sing choirs of angels!  Sing in exultation!
Sing, all you citizens of Heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest!
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord"1

"Great is the mystery of godliness!" (1 Tim. 3:16)


1  Adeste Fidelis "O Come All Ye Faithful" (traditional carol)
2  Tozer, A.W. From Heaven. 2016. Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL.

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