Tuesday, December 19, 2006

IOW--What is the Spirit of Christmas?

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I really want to to agree with this quote. But I am holding back. This time of year we often hear if people would just have the Christmas spirit all year, wouldn't the world be better. By this they mean, as Coolidge states, mercy and goodwill and peace. And those things would make the world better. They are things that we as Christians should manifest 365 days a year. But, I believe we fall way short of the mark. We are just as to blame as the rest of the world for getting caught up in our little worlds and missing the needs of others. We don't care for our own or the world very well.
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

We don't act justly--we act for ourselves. We don't love mercy--we expect others to meet their own needs. And to walk humbly--oh my!
These are qualities that are desperately needed to be on display in a Christian's life. They show our obedience. They mark us as His. They set us apart.

But they do not define the spirit of Christmas.

The Spirit of Christmas is that God loved us too much to leave us in our mess. The Spirit of Christmas is that no matter how merciful, or good, or peace seeking we chose to be, we could never achieve those things without God. And God could not be at peace with us because our sin separated us from Him. The Spirit of Christmas is that God chose to do something about it. The Spirit of Christmas is that God came to us--Emmanuel! The Spirit of Christmas is Jesus!

The Spirit of Christmas is Jesus! And if we allow the definition of the Spirit of Christmas to be watered down to our attitude, then we are missing some of the miracle. I know that it is not politically correct to talk about Christmas being about Jesus (apparently that was even the case in Coolidge's day to a lesser extent). But without Jesus there is no Christmas. Acts of kindness can be performed by anyone. Only followers of Christ can share the Spirit of Christmas. Will you help me share this week?

In Other Words is being hosted by Darlene this week. Please join us there!

11 comments:

eph2810 said...

You are right - we miss the mark sometimes to extend the mercy and grace that was extended to us by God for our sake. I am glad that He picked me up out of my mess. Yes - I will be joining you to extend to others what He has extended to me...

Blessings on your day and always.

Anonymous said...

Okay - I want a do-over!!!! ;) This is so awesome...it speaks the truth...there is not much more that can be said...except I am so thankful that He didn't leave us in our mess!!! Thanks for coming by and reading mine...it just pales so in comparison to what you have written here...all about Him...not about us...this is wonderful!

kpjara said...

Amen and Amen! I love reading your IOW's. I always prosper.

Thank you.

Tami Boesiger said...

I was worried I would be the only one disagreeing with this quote. Thanks for speaking the Truth!

The Imperfect Christian said...

I don't necessarily agree with you, but I don't necessarily DISagree either! What a thought-provoking post!

Anonymous said...

ah ha! I agree anyone can be kind, but We, as Christians are the only ones who can show the true meaning of Christ. Thanks! lol like Tami, I thought I was the only one who was disagreeing with the quote..

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you disagreed with the quote. My bad in choosing it. I was looking at it more as the way that we celebrate, and the spirit in which we celebrate it--not the spirit for whom we celebrate. He is the reason and He is the season. Without love and mercy, that faith is void.

MiPa said...

Thanks for the comments ladies. Darlene, it is not "bad" to reflect differently on quotes. That is one thing I love about IOW: I may not always agree with what others have written, but I am certainly challenged to think outside my little box. ((HUGS))

Heather said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

You're right, we don't possess what it takes to fully have the true "spirit of Christmas" apart from Christ. But, as James says, "every good and perfect gift is from above." God, as the source of all that is good, is manifest in all acts of kindness, mercy, peace and goodwill, no matter how misguided or motivated by emotion. Embedded in those acts is His very nature, however tainted they may be by our "human-ness." The spirit of Christmas can be present when we help the causes of the least, last, lost, and lonely. In our own feeble way, we are trying to help others out of their "mess" just as He came to rescue us from ours.

I love how you brought in the Micah passage. I needed to see that scripture today! Excellent post.

Ame said...

very well written ;)

have your girls stopped creating empathy?! ;)