Daily Archives: December 26, 2013
Can we talk hilarity for just a moment? I was curious. So I Googled, just a bit this morning, and found this poem.
‘Twas the Day After Christmas
‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house
All the family was sleeping, yes, even my spouse.
The stockings were tossed by the chimney with flair
Some turned inside out to make sure nothing’s left there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Nintendo DSes tucked under their heads
And I in my bathrobe, MacBook on my lap
Was happy to know there were no gifts left to wrap.
When out from the kitchen there rose such a clatter
I sprang from the couch to see what we the matter
I waded my way ‘cross a floor filled with trash
To a kitchen heaped high from our Christmas Eve bash
The sun through the window gave it quite a glow
[(shining brightly, reflecting on a fresh layer of snow)]
It shone on the remains of the Christmas day cheer
The leftover cheese ball, the dregs of the beer
The un-put-away brownies as hard as a fossil
And o’er on the stone, it shone down on the wassail
I blinked as the sun blasted straight into my eye
And just in time glimpsed a brown streak passing by
Four-footed and furry and dragging a ham,
Dodging around me and trying to scram
And as he ran off with a peppermint cluster
I knew in a moment, it was my dog Buster
More rapid than eagles he streaked ‘cross the floor
Buster grabbed what he wanted, and came back from more
More cheesecake, more truffles, more bagels and lox
More chocolate chip cookies, more scotch on the rocks
He smashed and he scrambled, bumped into the wall,
Then dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all
“I should have cleaned up when the guests said good-bye,”
I moaned to myself with a pretty big sigh
After two days of feasting, the kitchen looked grubby
I scrounged in the sink, tried to dig up the scrubby
I searched quite in vain for a halfway clean towel
When out from the living room came quite a howl
I set down the saucepan all caked with goo
The glaze for the ham which had now turned to glue
I skipped to the living room, limber of foot
And inched past the fireplace, dripping with soot
Unraveling ribbons clung fast to my shin
As I looked ‘round the post-Christmas scene with chagrin
A mountain of presents all covered the floor
They looked so appealing when bought at the store
Now gift wrap was ripped and the tissue was crumbled
The new shoes abandoned, the new tank tops rumpled
I picked my way round all the presents caloric,
The baskets of chocolate to make me euphoric
Strange foods so exotic that no one would try it
(And don’t my friends know, New Year’s Day starts the diet?)
And just then I heard from the top of the spruce
The pitiful cry of a dog on the loose
I lifted my eyes from amidst the debris
Old Bust had climbed to the top of the Christmas tree
The angel crashed down as the Christmas tree swayed
The ornaments flew in a sparkly cascade
The puppy leapt on me, I felt his claws rip
And then right behind, the tree started to tip
The lights all exploded as down the tree crashed
The pine needles shredded, the presents were smashed
And I said as I landed on top of the pup
“Happy Christmas to all – Someone else can clean up!”
© Janet Batchler, Quoth the Maven, December 26, 2009
I couldn’t help but laugh as I read through that and while I hope that my home never looks like that after the holidays (I’m too much of a neat-freak to allow it), I can’t say it never will. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.
O come, all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold him
Born the King of angels!
O come, let us adore Him!
O come, let us adore Him!
O come, let us adore Him
Christ, the Lord!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2.9-11 NIV
It’s a catchy tune and a chorus I find myself humming or singing at random throughout the year; not just at Christmas.
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!
My heart smiles at those words…along with:
For You alone are worthy…
He will reign forever…
It’s true. He is and He will.
Adoration is a word that we love to use during the Christmas season thanks largely to this classic carol. Sadly, many of us during the Christmas season spend more time thinking about Christ and giving him adoration than other time of the year.
Think about that for a moment.
Christmas and Easter
More people go to church during those two holidays than any other time of the year.
We also tend to find ourselves singing and listening to songs about Jesus more during the Christmas season than another other time of the year…much in the way that Philippians 2 describes.
That breaks my heart.
So many of us do not know what we are missing out on when we give Jesus one season a year.
He deserves to have it all, not just one day a year (or two for some of us).
I’m not going to say that I have it down pat either. I’m human. I fail on a daily basis. He knows it and yet, he doesn’t hold it against me. Instead, he forgives me, showers me with grace and mercy and helps me get back up on my feet (or humbled knees, rather). God doesn’t see my failures when he looks at me and for that, I am humbly grateful.
While it’s great that Christ earns so much of our attention and adoration during the Christmas season, it’s important to remember that we should pay the same amount of attention to Him 12 months a year instead of just one.
Sure, it’s easier to get caught up in all the Christmas hype and spend more time thinking, singing, praying, and adoring Christ during December. It’s also easy to get swept away by the busyness of the new year, focus again on the start of new business revenues, start making plans for the next year and get lost in the hubbub of keeping resolutions, schedules and life in general. Not to mention the material things of this world pulling us this way and that. We are so easily distracted.
In order to have a true relationship him, we must adore and spend time with him daily…not just during Christmas.
My challenge to you is that this year, 2014 and beyond, as you move out of the Christmas season and back into the normalcy of life, strive to find a way to capture the spirit that will enable to you adore Him and grow with Him every day of your life.
Think about it. What things keep you from doing this? What have you put before him on the throne of your life? What would it look like to put him first on a daily basis? What would it look like to adore him every other day of the year? What steps will you take to get there? What choices will you make?
Take a stand for him.
Today is Boxing Day.
While I’ve never celebrated the day itself (it was always known as the day after Christmas in our house), I decided to look into it a little more. After all, it has its name penned on all calendars.
Boxing Day is an instance where a secular holiday grew out of a religious one. In most English speaking countries, Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas (today), when servants and tradesmen (employees) would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box,” from their bosses and employers. This is peculiar to me since I get these gifts before Christmas at my office.
It’s also similar to Black Friday. People hit the malls and stores to either a)return gifts they received and didn’t like (or they didn’t work) or b)hit up all of those post-Christmas sales. I know I’ll be checking out a few post New Year’s (next week)…hey, a girl’s got to restock on her favorite Bath and Body scent items if she doesn’t get them for Christmas.
That’s what it currently is…but, believe it or not (and I personally found this fascinating), Boxing Day grew out of St. Stephen’s day, a Christian holiday that commemorates Stephen, the first Christian martyr recording in the Bible.
No Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) – Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia – who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized upon Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never sops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
Acts 6.8-15, read also Acts 7
Stephen was a deacon of the early church in Jerusalem. And as you can see if you read the above passage, he was accused of blasphemy after an argument with the members of the synagogue. And while he awaited trial, he said he had seen God the Father and the Son. He was stoned and, as he lay dying, he prayed that his executioners be forgiven (just as Jesus did when he was held at trial: “Father forgive them for they do know not what they are doing” (Luke 23.34)).
My favorite Christmas text puts humility at the heart of Christmas. So this Christmas I am marveling at Jesus’s humility and wanting more of it myself. I’ll quote the text in a moment.
But first there are two problems. Tim Keller helps us to see one of them when he says, “Humility is so shy. If you being talking about it, it leaves.” So a meditation on humility (like this one) is self-defeating, it seems. But even shy people peek out sometimes if they are treated well.
The other problem is that jesus wasn’t humble for the same reasons we are (or should be). So how can looking at Jesus’ Christmas humility help us? Our humility, if there is any at all, is based on our finiteness, our fallibility, and our sinfulness. But the eternal Son of God was not finite. He was not fallible. And he was not sinful. So, unlike our humility, Jesus’ humility originated some other way.
Here is my favorite Christmas text. Look for Jesus’ humility.
Though he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2.6-8
What defines Jesus’s humility is the fact that it is mainly a conscious act of putting himself in a lowly, servant role for the good of others. His humility is defined by phrases like
- He emptied himself [of his divine rights to be free from abuse and suffering]
- He took the form of a servant
- He became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross
So Jesus’s humility was not a heart disposition of being finite or fallible or sinful. It was a heart of infinite perfection and infallible truthfulness and freedom from all sin, which for that very reason did not need to be served. He was free and full to overflow in serving.
Another Christmas text that says this would be Mark 10.45: The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus’ humility was not a sense of defect in himself, but a sense of fullness in himself put at the disposal of others for their good. It was a voluntary lowering of himself to make the height of his glory available for sinners to enjoy.
Jesus makes the connection between his Christmas lowliness and the good news for us: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for you souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11.28-30).
His lowliness makes our relief from burdens possible. If he were not lowly, he would not have been obedient unto death, even death on a cross. And if he had not been obedient to die for us, we would be crushed under the weight of our sins. He lowers himself to take our condemnation (Romans 8.3).
Now we have more reason to be humble than before. We are finite, fallible, sinful, and therefore have no ground for boasting at all. But now we see other humbling things: Our salvation is not owing to our work, but his grace. So boasting is excluded (Ephesians 2.8-9). And the way he accomplished that gracious salvation was through voluntary, conscious self-lowering in servant-like obedience to the point of death.
So in addition to finiteness, fallibility, and sinfulness, we now have two other huge impulses at work to humble us: free and undeserved grace underneath all our blessings and a model of self-denying, sacrificial, servanthood that willingly takes the form of a servant.
So we are called to join Jesus in this conscious self-humbling and servanthood. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23.12). Have this mind among yourselves, which si yours in Christ Jesus… (Philippians 2.5).
Let’s pray that this “shy virtue” – this massive ground of our salvation and our servanthood – would peek out from her quiet place and grant us the garments of lowliness this Advent. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’ (1 Peter 5.5).
© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org