I’m going to be very cliche’ and just get it out of the way: Happy New Year. (Notice… there isn’t any exclamation point.) Welcome to another new year. Welcome to the passing of another “Old Lang Syne.” I am not excited.
The dullness in excitement of the new year is directly proportional the the WONDERFULNESS of the Christmas season that has just passed. What goes up, must come down.
It was just different this year. In the past years I have found myself loathing that time between Thanksgiving and New Years day. I’m guessing that having young children helps one remember the magic of the Christmas season — but this year was different.
In fully embracing the season, I downloaded and listened to some classic Christmas music that transported me right back to being a child waiting and anticipating the awesomeness of Christmas! As a Christ follower I also remembered the “reason for the season” and focused on the gift of God in dwelling with us in flesh.
Christmas was fantastic!
Instead of the usual relief that Christmas was now over… I found that something had transformed my heart. It wasn’t about gifts — It was about “The gift.” God’s absolute love manifested in Christ, and even for a brief time manifested in the “love” of the Christmas season by His people. If only everyday could be Christmas!
New Years Eve arrived with all the anticipation of a dental appointment. A Facebook friend must have been feeling very similar with his thoughts about all of the hoopla of New Years Eve expressed simply as: “I don’t get it…” My thoughts?
Thats quite the contrast between the two “Eves.”
Well, yesterday was New Years Day. Irene took down the Christmas tree. (Note: It is not that she wanted to take down the Christmas tree … Irene truly carries a little Christmas in her heart and home decor all year long!) My thoughts?
“I’m bummed! I’m just not ready to let go of Christmas yet… I want to put on another TSO CD on!” I think I am mourning Christmas!
So — here we are. Where do we go from here?
Christmas is just an arbitrary date someone long ago chose to focus on the birth of Jesus. Most historians would tell you that most likely, Jesus was NOT born on December 25. So it isn’t the day or date that makes Christmas so special. So what then?
Christmas is synonymous with God’s LOVE… That God would LOVE mankind so much — that despite man’s rejection and disobedience of God, God’s KINDNESS would not leave man in that separated state. It is in PEACE that God came to dwell in the GENTLENESS of a baby, born to an almost “homeless” teenage mother… The JOY of Heaven had come down to this Earth with great celebration and JOY.
During the Christmas celebration, we wait for the day of Christmas PATIENTLY with great anticipation and SELF-CONTROL.
In Galatians 5:22-23, the Apostle Paul expresses that these are manifestations of God’s Holy Spirit. We call them ”The Fruits of the Spirit.”
My “resolution” (for lack of a better word) is to try and carry these things forward from my Christmas experience. In doing so, perhaps I can keep “The Spirit of Christmas” going just a little longer…
If the start of a new year is really a time to focus on what we learned in the past with a resolve to carry the good and change the not-so-good into the future, then 2011 can be summed up as this:
My behavior may look fine in comparison to some. It may fall short in comparison to others… But compared to God’s perfection, I fall tremendously short of what God expects from me. No mater how hard I try, there is NOTHING I can do in my own power to make up for that difference. That “Christmas Baby” that came to dwell amongst sinful man did so in perfection. Because of His love, He died in place of all of those who have fallen short. People like me.
I found the following compact, concise statement of grace that I will try to commit to memory for 2012:
“My sin is so bad that nothing short of the death of the son of God could pay for it, and that is exactly what I have.”