Around this time every year, the country, and many parts of the world, have gone through the depressing exercise of taking down their Christmas decorations. It truly is a sad part of the year for those of us who love all that is within the Christmas season. So, after all the busyness and running from here to there, I find myself asking, “What now?”
As a teenager, I did not attend church. My family and I would visit my uncle’s church on Christmas and Easter as so many people do throughout the country. We were definitely of that unfortunately large group that we so affectionately call “Chreasters”. For those of you not familiar with this term, it means those of us that only attend church on Christmas and Easter to pay our twice a year penance for all the sin that we commit during the year. But this is not an ideal that you will find anywhere in scripture or, more importantly, in the life of Jesus.
Then, one day, the Lord got a hold of my heart in a way I never thought possible and I realized that in the kingdom of God, every day should be a celebration of the birth of our Savior. Every day should be a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. If you think about it, that is what Christmas and Easter are all about… the birth of a new life and its implications for us. On the day that we remember as Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our God incarnate in human form so that He could grow up to minister to mankind through His sacrifice on the cross. A few months later, on the day we commemorate as the day of His resurrection, we celebrate His second birth as the “first fruit” of the resurrection to eternal life. One speaks of His servant heart to come in the lowliest of forms, a baby, to free mankind from our sin. The other speaks of His kingly heart to lead the way to eternal life with the Father.
Perhaps most interesting in all of this though, is the fact that in the full life of Jesus, these were not the days most spoken of in scripture. Both are lifted up as extremely important days on which the truth of the gospel hinges. However, the amount of time spent on speaking to these two events in the gospels is overshadowed with what Jesus did each and every day as a man that followed the will of the Father. Every day, in everything He did, Jesus glorified, worshipped, and lifted the Father up in praise. Without that, Jesus would not have been the perfect man that could pay the price for the sin of all mankind.
This year, my prayer for us as believers would be that we follow the example of Jesus and His parents in simply making each day, not just two days a year, the day that we worship our Lord with our whole hearts. As He grew, Jesus worshipped God the Father as a daily part of His life so that He could truly say, “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.” (John 14:31)
Jesus walked in the ways of the Father each day and this is how He showed the world that He was of the Father and He calls us to try to do the same each and every day…walk in the ways of the Father. And when we fall, which we will inevitably do, “…we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1) who did live every day perfectly and can therefore die for us who live every day imperfectly. That is the good news we need to celebrate each and every day… Jesus lived a perfect life and died an excruciating death so that we could live an imperfect life and be freed from eternal death.
While we remember the last holiday with fondness and look forward to the next with anticipation, let us pray that Jesus reminds us to live each day with the same heart that He had and to do so with freedom and abandon, walking in the grace that He has given us, and being witnesses to all the world.