Monday, December 17, 2007

Bah Humbug!

(Isaiah 9:6) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Bah Humbug! There I got it out! And I am not afraid to say it again!

Bah Humbug!

I’ve already been told by my incredibly beautiful wife that I WAS GOING TO ENJOY Christmas this year, my dear friend Steve Evans even sent me a list of “How To’s” for enjoying Christmas. Pastor Jeff Baker preached on Scrooge, calling on us “Scrooges” to confess, and I did, I’m no hypocrite! ! He then preached on a message on enjoying Christmas, and to that I say “Pastor it was a wonderful message!” but BAH HUMBUG!

That’s right folks… I am a Scrooge, and it feels good to say it! Uh huh, you got it baby, Tis the season to get bumped by angry, yet determined shoppers, cheated out of the bow with your complimentary gift wrapping, booted to the back of the line because you cut (or so the manager sternly accused) Tis the season to pay double for less, and get less for double!

Wait I’m not finished!

Tis the season for even more hectic schedules, angry relatives, burned out Christmas lights, wrong size shirts, and “Hey lady, watch your hands!”

Tis the season for:

“No, we don’t carry that.”

“It was on sale yesterday”

“You got me this last year”

and “I thought you said you wanted a power dental flosser”

Now don’t get me wrong it’s not the lights, or the tree or the gifts that bother me, I mean who doesn’t like going to the mall and getting free Wassail! (Wassail is a hot, spiced punch often associated with winter celebrations, and it is “Um good!”) I don’t even mind saying “Uh Mam I think you’re drinking out of my cup… ”

I enjoy watching others open the gifts, and of course I enjoy opening gifts as well… It’s the pressure that I just loathe…

"What time are you coming?"

"When should we be there?"

"How come you’re not doing “this” or “that” this year?"

"Who said we were coming?"

"The sale only lasts from 6AM to …."

"They don’t like red"

"They don’t like green"

"They don’t like ponies"

"This doesn’t come with batteries"

"Some assembly required"

"Craig, you always loved mushrooms before"

I don’t like” smelly Santa’s, One Time Only Sales, “Gee, one of these lights must be burned out!” and “If you apply for a (insert store name here) card, you get 2.25 % off of your purchase today!”

One Christmas as I was investigating a strand of non working lights, I actually grabbed the inside wires of a light bulb that once was protected by the now missing glass, the strand lite up and so did I! Electricity traveled through my body, as I danced with the power of GE coursing through my veins… With stammering lips and a jolted tongue, I danced under its power! I finally shook free of the pulsating energy, sweat rolling down my brow, and hair sticking straight up upon my head, I was nearly certain I had heard the angels singing “Welcome Home Dear Child Welcome Home -"Gloria in Excelsis Deo (whatever that means!)"”

I am intensely irritated with:

Holiday Trees

Good Tidings Cards

And other politically correct ways of saying “Merry Christmas!”

ARGH!!! And again I say BAH HUMBUG!

However I must admit subtly and secretively I think God has been working on my Christmas spirit tank. I cried at a commercial the other day… It was so, gee I don’t know Christmassy! Then again at a local Christmas play, which oddly enough was about the Christmas Spirit… It was so sweet, simple and wonderful!

Now then, I know well and good about the meaning of Christmas and focusing on the birth of Jesus Christ, you know

“He is the reason for the season”

“Keep Christ in Christmas”

I haven’t been under a rock, I know the cliché ways of saying the most simple rule of Christmas which is… Remember Jesus.

But isn’t that the real struggle after all. Not just at Christmas, but all year long. We allow so many things to grab our attention away from our most passionate desire. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

How many times is that not the root of the problem anyway?

Think about our failed relationships!

Marriages fail not so much because people grow apart, nor because affairs happen or whatever, but because we lose focus, we fail to spend time nurturing our relationships, focusing in on our blessings… and disaster occurs!

Backsliding in a variety of matters does not occur because we give into fleshly desires, or because we follow the world, but because we fail to maintain our relationship with God!

Growing apart happens not because we grow apart, but because we don’t grow together. What was once the love of your life, many times becomes so mundane, every day and average, and we allow less important things to become more important, we bicker, and argue over silly things, and we just drift…

Christmas is about Jesus, and that is first and foremost. I have been pondering this alot the last few days. Thinking of His birth, what it all means, what it may have been like to be a shepherd on that hill! To see the baby in the manger to comprehend the goodness of His coming, the power of His entrance – the WORD MADE FLESH!

And I realize I have drifted…

I have allowed the current, or flow of this world to shape my Christmas Spirit, into its little dirty mold. Thankfully Christmas chose to fight back, and it has regained this P.O.W.

Each night I have read a little of the Christmas story, I have counted my blessings one by one, I have listened to Josh Groban sing “What Child is this” and have allowed my self to be carried away with emotion! I have been thrilled at the lights, hugged a Santa, and on occasion I can be heard humming a variety of Christmas carol melodies…

All that though is insignificant really. Merely symptoms of a deeper issue. That being this: “Thank you Jesus, for coming to the earth, for me, I celebrate YOU!”

This central principle must shape my view of all the events to come in the next few days, because others will cut in line, others will take my parking space, it will on occasion happen that the lady wearing the “Christmas is for Caring” sweatshirt will tell me in no uncertain terms that I am slow, in the way, and offensive on some level!

There may be upset acquaintances, dead batteries, and shirts that are the wrong size, color, and shape. Yet, the old Pentecostal folks have a saying “What the world can’t give, the world can’t take away.”

So this Christmas season, I am not looking for gifts under the tree, or items on sale, my eyes are seeking the presence of Angels proclaiming the salvation of the Lord! I am looking for the Word, who became flesh, and the light that leads the way…

Why? because my heart seeks a child who was given! His name is wonderful, counselor, the prince of peace, and the Mighty God!

This year, of all the gifts you give and accept, give and accept the gift that matters most – The Son of God… Give Him to all you meet, and accept Him in all you do…

Merry Christmas