Monday, January 2, 2012

Jesus in a box 2012

This is a post I republished each year as a reminder to keep my priorities in order. 

Well, I packed Jesus away last week. I did like many Americans and put away my Nativity scene. I put the animals back in the box, I put the wise men away, I put Mary and Joseph in the package and lastly I put Jesus back in his box. I did so with care, I made sure he was wrapped in the tissue as to not get broken or damaged while he spends the next 11 months or so in a box in the attic. As I did this I wondered how many people will do the same with the real Jesus. How many will put Jesus away for a few months until it is time to bring him out again. Maybe some will bring him out at Easter. They will put more emphasis on the Easter bunny, the colored eggs and the new outfits, but Jesus will get an honorable mention I'm sure.

Now that the feel good season is gone, no more Salvation Army bell ringers reminding us to help the needy, no more Christmas music helping us get into the Christmas spirit, no more empty stocking fund reminder on the front page of the news paper, we easily slip back into the "Jesus in a box" routine. I am not trying to be Mr. Scrooge but the idea of Santa Clause is only as recent as the 1800's. Believe it or not, Santa and the Easter bunny are not found in scripture! Neither is the idea of December being the only month for helping those in need. It seems like I keep going back to the same passages in Acts over and over again:
Acts 2: 42-47 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Take a look at vs 46, every day they met together and in vs 47 every day the Lord added to their numbers. They did not meet together once a month or only at Pentecost or Passover or Christmas or Easter, they met together daily. Take a look at the second familiar passage from Acts:
Acts 4: 32-35 32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
Did you notice the phrase in vs 34, from time to time, this is not a once a year practice. This happened on a regular basis. It may not have happened every day but if someone was in need during the month of March, someone would sell some land or a home and make the money available to those in need. If someone was in need during the month of July, someone else would sell the land or home and make the money available.

Yet another passage from Acts about the daily walk of the Believer:
Acts 17: 11 - Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Every day they spent time in God's word and as a result of this Luke says they were more noble than the Thessalonians. Do you ever wonder how much time the Thessalonians spent in God's word? Did they search the scriptures on Sunday mornings from 10:00 - 11:00? Did they search the scriptures on Christmas Eve or on Easter Sunday? We are not told, the only thing we know is that it must not have been every day.

How quickly we can put the "spirit of Christmas" behind us and settle back into our normal routines. Let me encourage you to pull Jesus back out of the box, take the tissue off and keep his example of how we should live our lives in a prominent place in your life this year. From time to time look for opportunities to help others. You're probably not going to find a single mom stressing about Christmas for her kids in June but she may be stressing about her rent. You may not hear of a child needing a warm jacket in August but he may need a ride to and from ball practice because his dad is no longer around. I hope you and I will make the most of every opportunity God sends our way.

1 comment:

  1. You mean to tell me that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren't in the Bible?! (kidding of course)

    Great post, Lamar!