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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Where is the Love? .A Christmas Post.

I suppose that I should state right at the very beginning, that I am as much a part of this problem as the next person. This is not supposed to come across as yet another judgy post about judgmentalism. Goodness there are enough of those without me adding my voice. I am examining my own heart, and I process best when there are letters underneath my fingertips. So if you landed here, understand that you landed on what is my own self-examination poured out on the screen. {lucky you}

If you spend anytime on social media, which I am guessing you do a little, since you are here, then it is not hard to be bombarded with all of the Christmas links and posts swirling around. You know the ones:

why my family doesn't do Santa,

why my family does do Santa,

why we don't buy gifts for our kids,

why we do buy gifts for our kids,

why Christmas has been reduced to a materialist, consumerist big marketing day,

how to reclaim Christmas and make it simple,

why we do Elf on the Shelf,

why Elf on the Shelf is evil,

why only purchase gifts that make a difference,

why make Christmas magical and go all-out with gift giving

etc. You get my point. The tension is high and our swords are drawn. This happens so much with Jesus-followers. I recently wrote another post noticing lines drawn in the sand with the adoption community. It happens all of the time - mud-slinging, dividing lines, judgments, and self-righteousness - and so much of it in the name of Jesus.

And when this happens the enemy is getting this victory. No, of course he does not win in the end, but these little battles, the battles that occur and break down the Kingdom rather than build it up, he's winning them, and we are his pawns. We willingly pick fights against our brothers and sisters, and work so hard on defending our opinions that our energy is used up in all of the wrong places.

And the world is taking note.

John 13:35 says, Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. It doesn't say that we will be known for the way we defend ourselves, not even for our doctrine, not for the political side we lean into, or the churches we attend, our piety, or the lines we draw in the sand. The one characteristic that is supposed to be able to identify us as Jesus followers to the world is our love - our extravagant, unmistakable, over-the-top lavished on love, and even more specifically in that verse - our love for one another.  But golly, where is the love? Our bashing of the way our brothers and sisters choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus certainly is not showing the world this love that should identify us. We have the absolute biggest and best reason to celebrate Christmas! We know the amazing miracle that happened when Jesus, the Son of God, came down into our mess, humbled himself and changed everything because of the divine rescue plan that was set into motion the night His helpless baby of a body was laid into that rustic manger. We know the secret that was born in that stable. We also know that it was the greatest act and the greatest gift of love for God to sacrifice His Son. And we should be proclaiming that love from the rooftops, and mimicking it with our lives. The two greatest commands are pretty clear - love God with our everything, and love people as much as ourselves(Luke 10:27).




Somewhere along the way, we have lost our love - the very thing that should identify us with Jesus - the Jesus Who our Christmas celebrations revolve around.

want Christmas to be meaningful for my family, and I think it is necessary to think through traditions and how our family will celebrate the birth of our King. I really think that is a beautiful and wise thing. But it's okay if my family does it differently than your family does it. It's okay to give each other the grace to be this Christmas. I just want off the crazy-train of mud-slinging. I've had enough.

I hope my home is only filled with Jesus and His love this Christmas, and that is what I hope for you as well - regardless of how your family chooses to celebrate it. We have this amazing chance to show the world something different this Christmas. I am laying down my sword, asking for forgiveness, and I am picking up love.



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