Lately, our world celebrates religious holidays, without actually celebrating the meaning of the holiday. For Christmas, we say no longer say “Merry Christmas!”. Instead, we say “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”, because we don’t want to offend anyone. Actually saying, “Merry Christmas” can be considered bold now. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. Most people get caught up in overspending on presents, decorating the perfect Christmas tree, putting up lights outside tastefully or as a huge spectacle to draw visitors from far away. When people try and put up Nativity scenes, people file complaints, that they are offended by the religious meaning. Christmas is a religious holiday. It celebrates the birth of our Savior.
I love decorating for Christmas. The lights. The Christmas trees. The lights outside lighting up the dark nights, just like Jesus came as a light into the world. People are nicer. They attribute it to ‘holiday cheer’, not God filling us with the Holy Spirit. Everyone is trying to capture a little Christmas magic or a Christmas miracle. How often are they thanking God and praising God’s goodness?
I have wreaths, lights, pictures, signs, decorations. I listen to only Christmas music after Thanksgiving. I overspend on presents. I love it. Well, not the overspending, but I love to give presents. Lately, I have been trying to make sure Jesus is the reason for the season. It is pretty easy to get side tracked, though. Now, people put up Christas trees, who aren’t Christian. This could be an amazing opportunity to introduce them to Christ and the meaning of the season. Why wouldn’t we want to share the glory of God? Do we do that? Or, do we watch as they worship the traditions instead of the meaning? They try to capture some of the good feelings, but can end up feeling empty, if they are not being filled up by the Holy Spirit.
God despises feast days and the scared gatherings that are not sincere. They are like empty promises. If we live everyday worshiping idols, following false gods, and then we turn and pretend to worship at holidays. God will not accept the offerings and singing. “But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream.” God says to let justice run down like water and righteous flow like a mighty stream.
God asks Israel if they offered sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness for forty years. God says they carried idols with them, which they made for themselves. Instead of thanking God and praising God, they continued to worship idols. As a result of their actions, God sent them to captivity.
“I hate, I despise your feast days,
And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them,
Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
Take away from Me the noise of your songs,
For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream.
“Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings
In the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
You also carried Sikkuth your king
And Chiun, your idols,
The star of your gods,
Which you made for yourselves.
Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,”
Says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.
–Amos 5:21-27 (NKJV)
We have such a good and loving God. But, if we continue to sin and dishonor God, we will be punished. God wants to do wonders and miracles in our lives. If we ignore God and all God is doing in our lives, and instead sin each day, we have turned away from God. Like a good father, God must point out our bad behavior, so we can change. God only punished those he loves. So, if we recognize that we sinned, we can turn to God and ask forgiveness and try and change. God can help us change our behavior. Some things are harder to change. It is a choice each day. I can say that when I look back over the past year, I can see how much we have changed. Is there still more to do? Yes! So much more! When you start walking towards God, your path will be easier. You get a new chance each day. Keep trying to do God’s will, and you will see how your life falls into place. That thing you are searching for is God. Enjoy the holidays, and remember the reason behind the celebration. Christmas may be 6 months away, but its never too early to start preparing your heart for the Lord.