Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peace on Earth

~You Might Want to Listen to this Song as You Read~

As Luke records the appearance of a great company of the heavenly hosts along with the angel announcing the birth of Jesus, he writes:

"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men 
on whom his favor rests"
Luke 2:14 - (NIV)

Above all else the message of Christmas is simply peace. Peace with God and with one another. As with most things in the Bible, this has been distorted into a carnival. Scholars have no idea of the exact date of Jesus' birth. In fact, there was no "Christmas" until the Fourth Century. It, like many other holidays was assimilated into the "Christian" calendar. Most likely, it was a substitute for the Winter Solstice celebrations that were celebrated by many pagans in Northern Europe. The early church was very adept in this assimilation process, as it made conversion a less dramatic change to the people's culture.




Now with that being said, what about Christmas? As I mentioned earlier, Christmas has become a carnival. Americans are projected to spend $450 billion dollars on Christmas. It is all about colored lights, Santa Claus, presents, parties and above all STRESS. People all over the world are attempting to have the "perfect" Christmas. We have all seen the movies, television programs and Norman Rockwell paintings depicting this "perfect" Christmas. HERE IS A NEWS FLASH! There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas! By adding all of this stress to your already busy life, you are setting yourself up for a tough time.

If you are willing to listen I have some advice for Christmas:
  • This is a time to be with friends, family and loved ones.
  • Hugs should take priority over the perfect gift.
  • This is NOT the time to "Work Out" issues you may have with a relative. (Unless it is unconditional forgiveness)
  • Know this up front - there will be glitches, some things you cook will not turn out well and you may not get what you wanted for Christmas.
  • Alcohol is NOT your friend. It makes you think you are wise, a good dancer, a great singer, God's gift to the opposite sex -- It only makes you STUPID or MEAN.
  • Invited guests will be late or uncomfortably early.
  • Dressing up your pet pit-bull in a Santa suit may be cute, but it could turn out badly.
Let's go back to what I was saying at the beginning. The real meaning of Christmas is peace. It is not a carnival, it is peace. It is a time to thank God for giving His Son and if the world would just accept his teachings, (Maybe start with the Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5-7) - there would be peace. 

So for this Christmas, I wish you a Merry Peace-Filled Christmas.
~Al