12/26/13: Keep the Christmas Spirit
On a popular national morning television show, a prominent pastor was asked how we could keep the Christmas spirit all year long. Not only did he neglect to give kudos to God or Christ for being the necessary impetus for the joy felt and given during the holiday season, but he actually deliberately steered away from the Divine in his answer. He suggested that anything related to religion had nothing to do with the Christmas spirit; all we really needed to remember was to spread love to one another all year long.
“Spreading love” sounds like a wonderful sentiment, but this respected preacher missed a golden opportunity to lift the Savior up. Contrary to popular opinion, the Christmas spirit is all about something very much related to religion—the Christian religion that he was supposed to be representing on that show. The Christmas spirit exists because of the “good tidings of great joy to all people,” namely, the coming of (the incarnation of) the Savior who is Christ the Lord. “Giving” is what God is all about. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” for the purpose of providing everlasting life to everyone in the world (see John 3:16). We give because He gave. We smile at each other at this time of year because He gave. There would be no Christmas season without the fact that He gave.
An incoming new year holds both promises and secrets. Every day won’t be a great day. Things are bound to happen in the new year that will threaten to dim the glow and chill the warmth of the holiday season. How do we propose to keep our grasp of the Christmas spirit then? The only way is not about sustained love for one another, but a secure link to the One who is the Spirit.
The Spirit of the season is not a thing we project but a person who possesses us. Jesus’ birth provided salvation and His death, burial, and resurrection purchased our souls. Our acceptance of these truths make us His possession. We keep the Christmas spirit by realizing that just as Jesus physically entered into Mary and grew within her, Jesus enters into our lives and His presence grows within us. With Jesus living in our hearts, the power of the Holy Spirit can operate through us, making us able to handle with joy—with the Christmas spirit—whatever the new year plans to dish out.
©2013 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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