Devotion and Prayer for Week of December 25, 2011

Meditation for the week beginning December 25, 2011

 Merry Christmas!

Most of you are reading this somewhat after the fact.  Christmas Day was last Sunday.  Some of you may have already put away your Christmas decorations and honestly are a bit weary of the lights, glitter and hoopla that make up our modern day Christmas celebrations. But wait a minute, Christmas is not over, it has actually just begun. Don’t tell the retailers, shoppers and radio stations, but Christmas continues for twelve days, until Friday January 6th with the celebration of Epiphany.

 

I am sure you all remember the song, The Twelve days of Christmas. Those twelve days start on Christmas day and continue 11 more.  Christmas continues to go on and it is good and proper to continue to wish people a Merry Christmas for the next twelve days.  Tradition in the church holds that it was 12 days later on January 6th when the three wise men showed up and offered their gifts to the baby Jesus.  Epiphany is a word meaning “manifestation or to bring light upon something, illuminating it. “  So after Christmas we celebrate the fact that God has manifested, made visible, His presence here on earth through his Son Jesus.

 

But let’s go back to Christmas.  Why are we so ready to get Christmas done and over with?  Could it be that we really don’t want to know God’s manifestation, or we don’t want to have to deal with Immanuel, meaning God with us?  See if God is really with us, among us, living with us, interacting with us, he becomes a personal and real God. This means that we need to pay attention to Him.

 

When God is distant and far away we can delude ourselves, as much of the modern world has, that God is not relevant, not important, and does not need to have our attention.  Yet Christmas reminds us that God came to earth and is real, physical, and among us.  To be sure, God is still this great presence, creator of all and over and above all things. In His manifestation of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, He is here with us.  As such we have to think about what it is he calls us to do and how it is that he asks us to live.  God is with us and calls us to be aware that God is personal in our lives each and every day.

 

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is not a great religious morality play, yet it hits on a key point that would be good for every Christian to remember.  I am sure that you remember the story, a miserly crotchety old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, treats everyone badly and considers Christmas as “humbug.” Three spirits, who show him what his life is like and how it will end, visit him and Scrooge has an epiphany of sorts.  As the story ends, at least in my favorite version, The Muppets, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge promises that he will keep Christmas in his heart every day of the year.  Good advice for all of us.

 

Merry Christmas.

Our Weekly Prayer

 O Lord, change my heart, that I too may keep the spirit of Christmas alive in my heart each and every day.  Guide me so that I live with the knowledge that there is a God with me, each and every day and I am never alone.  That Jesus Christ has come to me and given me His Spirit so that not only is He with me, but also inside of me.  May I live that good news each and every day.  Amen.