Sunday, December 28, 2008

FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS 12/28/08




28 December 2008
FOR THE GREAT MAJORITY OF PEOPLE, CHRISTMAS IS OVER!
CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL THE AFTER CHRISTMAS SALES IS OVER. THOUGH MANY OF YOU MAY HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE FRENZY, PRAYERS ARE THAT YOU HAVE NOT BECOME PREY TO ALL OF THE MADNESS THAT GOES ALONG WITH THE CULTURE.
BECAUSE, FRANKLY, PART OF THAT MADNESS IS AN EFFORT BY STORE MANAGERS AND RETAILERS TO MOVE THEIR MERCHANDISE OFF THOSE SHELVES.
I HAD A JOB IN RETAIL SALES FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS IN A LARGE RETAIL GROCERY STORE THAT SOLD MOST EVERYTHING INCLUDING TOYS AND ORNAMENTS. PART OF WHAT WE HAD TO DO WAS TO KEEP MOVING THE MERCHANDISE TO STRATEGIC SHELVES AND STRATEGIC POSITIONS ON SHELVES. MOREOVER, THAT IS BECAUSE, IN THAT WORLD OF RETAILING AND MERCHANDIZING, THERE IS A PHENOMENON CALLED SHELF LIFE! STORE OWNERS AND RETAILERS KNOW THAT CERTAIN MERCHANDISE HAS A LIMITED TIME—A WINDOW—AFTER WHICH IT LOSES ITS VALUE, EVEN AS A SALES ITEM. THAT WINDOW IS WHAT RETAILERS REFER TO AS SHELF LIFE. WHEN THE SEASON IS OVER, THE MERCHANDISE LOSES ITS VALUE.
HOWEVER, WE CHRISTIANS KNOW THAT CHRISTMAS/THE INCARNATION/THE WORD BECOMING FLESH, HAS INFINITELY MORE SIGNIFICANCE AND LASTING VALUE. THERE IS NO WINDOW—AFTER WHICH THIS GIFT LOSES ITS SIGNIFICANCE AND VALUE. IT HAS MEANING BEYOND THE CONCEPT OF SHELF LIFE. IN ADDITION, WE NEED TO RE-CLAIM THAT SIGNIFICANCE AND VALUE!
THE WORDS OF JOHN THE EVANGELIST BRINGS THAT HOME TO US IN “LANGUAGE THAT IS UNSURPASSED”:
“AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND LIVED AMONG US… AND WE HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY… FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH…
IT HAD BEEN A PARTICULARLY TRYING DAY FOR A FOUR-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND HER PARENTS. AFTER PUTTING THEIR DAUGHTER TO BED, THEY COLLAPSED IN THEIR ROOM. THE LITTLE GIRL WAS TOO TIRED TO FALL ASLEEP AND BECAME FEARFUL IN THE DARK.
“MOMMY, DADDY, COME HERE, I’M SCARED!” WAS THE PLEA JUST AS HER PARENTS’ EYES CLOSED.
“IT’S OKAY, GOD’S IN THERE WITH YOU,” THEY REPLIED, HOPING TO EASE HER FEARS. A MINUTE PASSED.
“MOMMY, DADDY, COME HERE, I’M SCARED!”
“BUT WE TOLD YOU, GOD’S IN THERE WITH YOU.”
“I KNOW HE IS, BUT I NEED SOMEBODY WITH SKIN ON THEM!”
“AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND LIVED AMONG US…”
JESUS: GOD WITH SKIN—A GIFT OF LASTING VALUE…
THEREFORE, CHRISTMAS IS NOT OVER! ON THE CONTRARY, ITS SIGNIFICANCE SHOULD JUST NOW BE MAKING ITSELF FELT WITHIN US AND AROUND US.
THAT GOD SHOULD “CHOOSE TO COMMUNICATE TO US THROUGH TANGIBLE, VISIBLE MEANS, AT A SPECIFIC POINT IN OUR HUMAN HISTORY, IS ENOUGH REASON TO TAKE CHRISTMAS OUT OF THE SHELF-LIFE REALM OF THINGS.
WHAT HAS COME INTO BEING IN HIM WAS LIFE, AND THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT OF ALL PEOPLE. THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS DID NOT OVERCOME IT.
THERE IS A POPULAR STORY BY CICERO, WHO TELLS OF A PRISONER, WHO, HAVING SPENT HIS ENTIRE LIFE IN A DARK DUNGEON, AND KNOWING THE LIGHT OF DAY ONLY FROM A SINGLE BEAM WHICH FILTERED THROUGH A CRACK IN THE PRISON WALL, WAS FULL OF DISTRESS WHEN HE WAS TOLD THAT THE WALL WAS TO BE PULLED DOWN, “BECAUSE,” HE SAID, “IT WILL ROB ME OF MY GLEAM OF LIGHT.” HE DID NOT KNOW THAT THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WALL WOULD BATHE HIM IN NOONTIDE SPLENDOR AND GLADDEN HIM WITH THE INFINITE GLORY OF THE OUTER WORLD.
HE CAME TO WHAT WERE HIS OWN PEOPLE, AND HIS OWN DID NOT ACCEPT HIM. HOWEVER, TO ALL WHO RECEIVED HIM, WHO BELIEVED IN HIS NAME, HE GAVE POWER TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD…
"BUT!” THAT SINGLE WORD MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.” O’DRISCOLL REMINDS US.
“SUDDENLY WE ARE CONFRONTED WITH A PEOPLE. “
ALL IS NEVER LOST WHEN SOME OF GOD’S PEOPLE RECEIVE THE GESTURE. THEY RESPOND. IT IS WITH THESE THAT GOD-IN-CHRIST HAS ENTERED INTO RELATIONSHIP.
SO, DO NOT PUT AWAY CHRISTMAS WITH THE BOXES OF DECORATIONS AND THE LIGHTS. ITS POWER, WORKING THROUGH YOU, IS A THING OF LASTING VALUE AND MEANING THAT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES YOU TOUCH.
MAY GOD’S BLESSINGS BE WITH YOU.
Your Sister in Christ,
Colleen

3 comments:

  1. I'm all done with Christmas. All the decorations are down and stored. I didn't go shopping after Christmas as there isn't anything I need or want. I'm looking forward to ringing in the new year and most importantly spring. I'm not a winter person. I'm a fair weather boating person.

    You have a blessed Sunday my friend. Big hug. :)

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