Christmas: Deciding What's Important
by Archie Wortham --show me more like this
Christmas © Jose Manuel Gelpi - Fotolia.com All rights reserved.
"Render unto Caesar" Matthew 22:21, is our advent thought, and the first in our holiday-series of four messages!
Most of you are familiar with this story. It's where Jesus tells the Pharisees they have to pay their taxes or give to Caesar, what is Caesar's. The question here, was whether tribute should be paid to the person who's pictured on the coin they showed Jesus. These 'wise' questioners were attempting to trick Jesus, the same way many of us trick ourselves into doing what we 'think' is the right thing for us to do. Who or what we choose as our master is the gravest question facing our materialistic generation. Rather than asking about the meaning of life, we should ask ourselves, to whom are we rendering tribute?
As Christmas approaches, and we assert our priorities, it's hard to keep in mind what the season is all about, because for many of us, we don't think about the meaning of Christmas until it's Christmas. Christmas is a spirit that should be with us always, but it's not until the decorations start invading our lives that we stop and think about what's happening. And it goes deeper than the gift you get, or the gift you give, or even admitting the selfish thoughts of "I hope I don't get the same old 'whatever' so & so always gives." Christmas is about rendering unto God those things that are God's. And most of all, the thing that I most admire, and feel such an inadequate steward of, is His gift of children to us.
Children are a delight! Tell me one parent who has not learned a little something about the true meaning of Christmas from a child. Those adults whose eyes have not been opened are Scrooges who deadbolt all their feeling, or Grinches who steal innocence, or cretins who just don't want to be blessed! That's what Christmas is all about-being blessed. So how are you going to let yourself be blessed this year? It's like I told my friend Gloria, in an e-mail, "you can only give, if someone lets you!" If we accepted people's giving a bit more, I'm sure we would have more giving.
Think about it. How many times have you refused an invitation to someone's house? Did they invite you again? How many times have you turned down an opportunity to be blessed with a lunch, an evening out when someone would watch your kids, simply because you wondered "What do they want?" Or, even more cretinous, have thought, "What must I do in return?" There's a word in our language that Christmas was designed to take away. Christ came because he wanted to come. He wanted to provide a way 'our' Father could continue to show His love for us. Christ sacrificed himself without a thought of 'reciprocity.' Today, unfortunately there is too much thinking about what's been done unto us, before we "do unto others." It's a failing. It's a fault. It's human. And the last time I looked in the mirror, I'm human, destined to fail, and full of faults. But God gave me a way back, and as long as I try, refuse to give up, I can still find a way to give, regardless of what happens.
Every year, about this time, my family and I go caroling. It's a gift to the community because it doesn't cost anything but time.
Christmas is about sharing, and children love to share. Caroling for some is the way you start this season. Continue this tradition as my family and I continue our tradition of caroling in the neighborhood. Ours is just a little something, but sometimes, that's all we have to give. And when we give all we have, we're in a position to be filled. Our giving helps teach our children to give. They learn from what they see. And what they we show them, they learn to believe. Unfortunately, too few of us have realized as Gloria Morris once said, "You have to believe before you can see." Think about that as you go over your Santa Claus list, and realize giving should not be based on what we get.
Because, if getting is the reason you give, then close your account now, because you aren't reaping all the dividends God intended for you to earn.
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