"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."--Matthew 5:14-16 Over the past week, Matthew and I have been studying the Christmas traditions of different countries around the world. One of the countries we studied was Italy, where Christmas, it is believed began. In the second or third century, during the time of the early church, Christians in Rome chose to make a stand against their country's pagan celebration, called Saturnalia. Instead, the story goes that they chose to celebrate the birth of Christ on the same day that Saturnalia began, which was December 25.
Just a quick thought today: how are we doing as a body of believers in standing up against our times? As our culture becomes more and more commercial in our Christmas celebrations, are we, am I, standing against it or am I just going along with it? Am I swept up in the thirst of a good deal or do I remember that gift giving is an act of love? With each passing year, the sales start earlier, but will I take a stand and set Him first?
This doesn't mean we're not going to put a Christmas tree up or buy presents for the ones we love. But for me, it means saying "Merry Christmas" when the checker rings up my purchases and says "Happy Holidays." It means spending time each evening reading an Advent devotional with the kids. It means taking those teachable moments with my children to reflect on the miracle of what Jesus did for us by laying down his glory to take on flesh on our behalf.
I hope you'll join me in the celebration!