Powerful, post-Christmas pondering

I hope you have 3 minutes to read something profound — which perfectly fits this present post-Christmas “downtime”…

Hopeful Post-Christmas Melancholy
(Author: Jon Bloom, at DesiringGod.org blog)

Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling some melancholy. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone. And we’re left standing, watching the Christmas taillights and music fade into the night.

But it’s possible that this moment of melancholy may be the best teaching moment of the whole season. Because as long as the beautiful gifts remain unopened around the tree and the events are still ahead of us, they can appear to be the hope we are waiting for. But when the tree is empty and events are past, we realize we are longing for a lasting hope.

So last night, as Pam and I tucked our kids into bed, we talked about a few things with them:

Gifts and events can’t fill the soul. God gives us such things to enjoy. They are expressions of his generosity as well as ours, but gifts and celebrations themselves are not designed to satisfy. They’re designed to point us to the Giver. Gifts are like sunbeams. We are not meant to love sunbeams but the Sun.

Putting our hope in gifts will leave us empty. Many people live their lives looking for the right sunbeam to make them happy. But if we depend on anything in the world to satisfy our soul’s deepest desire, it will eventually leave us with that post-Christmas soul-ache. We will ask, “Is that all?” because we know deep down that’s not all there is. We are designed to treasure a Person, not his things.

It is more blessed to give than receive. What kind of happiness this Christmas felt richer, getting the presents that you wanted or making someone else happy with something that you gave to them? Receiving is a blessing, but Jesus is right—giving is a greater blessing. A greedy soul lives in a small, lonely world. A generous soul lives in a wide world of love.

It’s just like God to let the glitter and flash of the celebrations (even in his honor) to pass and then to come to us in the quiet, even melancholic void they leave. Because often that’s when we are most likely to understand the hope he intends for us to have at Christmas.

Amen. pdb

Jesus is the reason for this?

In the midst of our culture’s materialistic fervor during the “holiday season” does it help for believers to chine in, “Jesus is the reason for the season”? I think Warren Cole Smith — (writing in WORLD Magazine) draws a helpful line for us….

I consider myself a “fellow warrior” with some of these folk. By that I mean that we agree on many things, and I would normally join them in their “culture war” fights. But on this one, please allow me to offer a dissenting view to the prevailing “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” mentality.

First of all, Jesus is most certainly not the reason for the orgiastic spending spree modern Christmas has become. I certainly think anyone should be able to say “Merry Christmas” if he wants to. But given what this holiday has become, there’s a part of me – a big part of me — that wants to keep the Jesus I worship as far away from this commercial debauchery as possible.

Of course the incarnation of Jesus, the Son of God, is the reason Christians celebrate Christmas — including the giving of gifts to one another. But this celebration of the incarnation is not an excuse for such Christless-commercialism and materialism (seeking happiness in possessions).

Remember the Word of Him who took on flesh and dwelt among us (Hebrews 13:5), “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

— pdb