Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wow...

...It's been a while. I see there are several dedicated readers that continue to visit the ol' blog, and for that you have my thanks. Remind me to buy you an ice cream cone next time we meet ok?

As the enticing aroma of orange chicken drifts into my room, I'm sitting here questioning whether I have misplaced priorities...shouldn't I be down there? No, I'll post first. :)

Last Sunday we heard a good message relating to the Advent Season and preparation for Christmas, which addressed the topic of how God's people have responded to His mercy and goodness in history. It boiled down to a fundamental defense of the Christmas holiday as a time of joy and thanksgiving for God's gifts--and especially the ultimate Gift.

First of all we need to understand that God's people have a fundamental responsibility to consider what He has done for us, and commemorate special acts of God on our behalf. In the Old Testament we read of Israel using festivals, holy days and monuments to extol the greatness of God's deeds, and the attitude behind this is probably best expressed in the Psalms of David. Consider Psalm 145:1-13.

"I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The LORD is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.


First David asserts that God is worthy of such praise from His people. But most importantly David clearly communicates that this kind of worship is the only appropriate response from those on whom His grace has been bestowed. It's not optional either.

Does meditation on the works of God, especially the gift of His Son that we celebrate during this season, bring us joy? David writes as though he expected everyone to have the same response of joy that he expresses in this Psalm, and indeed we must.

We know how easy it is to look at the crazy commercialization that engulfs this season and denounce it, but at the same time get caught up in the Christmas rush and lose our focus. What really matters? What's it all about? Most people don't know the answer. Many Christians stay away from Christmas altogether because they believe the season has been drained of all meaning, but is that true? Or has the true meaning just been placed on a shelf to gather dust, while quaint traditions and quotes (which have no meaning apart from their origination) govern the holiday?

All I'm saying is it's time to rebuild the foundation, to rediscover Christ our Savior and refocus our Christmas celebration on Him, instead of surrendering this time of joy and commemoration to the world, which strips it of all meaning and reason. Like David, we must feel an intense need to voice our praise to God, and that can be beautifully done during this special time of the year.

With that in mind let me wish you all a very merry Christmas!

1 comment:

Hannahlee said...

Ah, Benj, I'm impressed. I lovelovelove the new header. It's very creative and artist and elegeant. In other words it has your name written all over it. :) Thanks for keeping the blog up! I enjoy reading it and I know others do to.

*request icecream cone* :-]