December 19, 2011

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

I simply just love Christmas. This combination of a break from school, special times to serve God, wonderful times with a loving family, the food, and music that completely reflects the light of God just add to a spirit of love and joy. How sad I am for those who have not realized the true Spirit of Christmas!

I believe that the true spirit of Christmas is the Spirit that came to earth after Jesus left. That Holy Spirit of God who enables the righteous of God to act righteous and have the fruits of the Spirit. People always talk about getting into the "Christmas spirit" and, yes,  that Christmas spirit of wonder and stuff is easy to achieve for a kid. But have you ever stopped to consider the wonder available to all of us Christians?

In the past two weeks at church we have been going over a sermon series called The Christmas List. (Note: if you want to watch the sermon click here) What's on that list? An ancient list of virtues that Christmas should inspire in us. What are those virtues? The three virtues taken from Luke 2:1-16  (most notably vs.10,11,13 and 14) are:
  1. Joy (the natural outflow of having a relationship with God)
  2. Peace (peace=wholeness in God through Jesus)
  3. Good-Will (means that God is delighted to offer you His favor)
It's such a short list, but it caries such an opportunity to have true delight in Christmas. As I look at this list, it's apparent that we could not have these virtues if Jesus did not come down to earth and that event is what we celebrate on Christmas! At Christmas time we can celebrate this ability of joy, peace and good-will from God.

These virtues remind me of one of my favorite poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called Christmas Bells. This poem was written by Longfellow during a tough time in his life. Not only was the Civil War wraging but he had also just lost his wife. All these bad things had happened to him, yet he still had that wonderful Christmas Spirit. The Christmas Spirit he had was the one enables us to have unfailing joy in any circumstance.
     
Christmas Bells
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
    Their old, familiar carols play,
        And wild and sweet
        The words repeat
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
   
And thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
        Had rolled along
        The unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    
Till ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day,
        A voice, a chime,
        A chant sublime
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    
Then from each black, accursed mouth
    The cannon thundered in the South,
        And with the sound
        The carols drowned
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    
It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
        And made forlorn
        The households born
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
    
And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
        "For hate is strong,
        And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
    
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
        The Wrong shall fail,
        The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men."