Titus 2:11-13: "11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
The weeks before Christmas!
In North America it’s business as usual, as people fight the traffic and the crowds, frantically scurrying from mall to mall, looking for that last-minute gift idea. It seems we have developed modern traditions for the Christmas holiday like rushing, stress and overspending.
One website even suggests the following natural remedies to help people cope with the stress of Christmas:
o Kali Phosphoricum for sleeplessness due to exhaustion
o Arsenicum Album for sleeplessness resulting from anxiety
o Coffea Cruda for sleeplessness due to mental excitement
o Nux Vomica for nausea due to too much junk food
o Staphysagria to relieve ailments arising from pent up anger
o Argentum Nitricum to overcome a fear of crowds
It’s like this “Christmas carol” I found on the internet:
“Wreck the malls this Christmas season, fa la la la la la la la la.
Blow your cash for no good reason, fa la la la la la la la la.
Push your charge card to the limit, fa la la la la la la la la.
Your bank account has nothing in it, fa la la la la la la la la.”
Or this one:
“I'll be cloned for Christmas, there'll be three of me One to Work,
and One to Shop, and One just for Parties Christmas Eve, I'm certain,
I won't be alone I'll be home for Christmas, or else I'll send a Clone!”
Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same!
First century citizens certainly didn’t have to cope with malls, but the Bible tells us in Luke 2 that the cities, towns, villages, streets, homes and businesses of Israel were packed for another reason – the taxation and census ordered by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. Everyone had to make the long journey back to their hometown and stay with their relatives while giving up a major portion of their time and money – sound familiar?
John MacArthur, in his book “God With Us,” wrote about some of the first century people who missed Christmas:
− The Innkeeper missed it because he was preoccupied with making money.
King Herod missed it because he was fearful that another King could take his throne.
The religious leaders missed it because they were self-righteous and proud.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem missed it because they were religious – worshipping God in ritual while he was born right under their noses in reality!
The entire Roman empire missed it because they had their own gods and idols.
Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth missed it because they were too familiar with him.
Like I said, the more things change, the more they stay the same. These are basically the same reasons that people miss the real meaning of Christmas today – not just on December 25, but all year long!
There are three building blocks to any relationship – time, time, time! The time of the year that’s meant to be full of joy and happiness spending time with our friends and family is now spent with stress and frustration.
Lets do our best to find the real meaning of Christmas and SLOW down and enjoy it.