|Who do you love? We all gotta take time to answer the question.|
The question came up while reading my Bible during my morning quiet time. I was reading in I John chapter 2 where John is exhorting his readers: "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (v15 - NIV) The thing that immediately popped into my mind was the voice of a day job co-worker saying "I love Christmas!!". As I was pondering this the question came up, sadly in ol' George's gravelly voice with the appropriate guitar riff grinding away in the background, "Who do you love?" (George fades out, but the questions keep coming.) Do you love Christmas or do you love Christ? Or do you even connect the two?
It can be so easy to let 'Christmas' mask out 'Christ'. So often when I hear people say they 'love Christmas' the context refers the much romanticized hustle and bustle of shopping for gifts with the old carols playing in the background, all the colorful trappings of trees, Santa and snowmen, the TV Christmas specials, the huge gala gatherings with family and friends, and the growing anticipation of a noisy Christmas morning: A season of celebration that starts, for some, as soon as the Halloween decorations are back in the box. And at least in the most of the US, nobody finds 'I love Christmas!!" the least bit awkward or more than a tiny bit odd.
On the other hand, try saying "I love Christ!!" in the same conversation. For most of the same population - Awkward!! Without getting off on a rant of why this is so or how we got there, I want to encourage anyone kind enough to take the time to read this far to pause and ask yourself the question: "Who do you love?" We have to pick, and according to the passage I quote a above (along with many others) you can't pick both. You can't pursue both Christ and 'all the good life the world has to offer' at the same time. We have to be able to separate in our own minds the Christmas of Jesus our Lord and Savior's earthly birth from the Xmas of shopping, parties, Santa, and year-end-sales.
Once we separate Christmas from Xmas we can each make our own choices on where we go from there. I know that not everyone will agree with me on this, but I think gift giving is great, holiday gathers are fun and family gatherings are wonderful, and decorations and 'holiday spirit' are fine too, as long as the context is right. Do you do these things as part of celebration of Christ's birth, or do you do these things because it makes you a part of what those around you are doing? What are you celebrating? Who do you love?
Just stopping long enough to ask the question with help 'reset' most everyone who has come to this blog, and that's what I'm encouraging you to do. Just pause now again during this busy season, take a breath, look at everything around you, and ask yourself - "Who do you love?"