Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Redux

I'm enjoying my second Christmas season at our new Church and a year later I find myself somewhat more at ease.

A year ago I was riding a roller coaster of emotion during this time and as I was participating in our Christmas program at Church. One moment feeling great, the next feeling a bit guilty and overwhelmed. This year things are different.

I purposefully decided to limit my participation this year to singing in the choir; there are a few cool solos and speaking parts, but (unlike me) I resisted the urge to wildly jump in. I have already committed myself to working with the teen choir and between that and "just" singing as part of the choir in the program that will be plenty. I do not want to over extend myself like I have in the past. At first, it was a bit difficult, but once I made the decision and stuck to it, I have never looked back.

Anyway, I digress... This year I'm not hyper-analyzing all the Christmas stuff going on around me and once I stopped doing that it's making more sense. There are lots of reasons that it does, but one stands out for me. If this is the ONE TIME that someone MIGHT be influenced by Christians during the course of the year then what is wrong with making that one time special so they see how great our God is. All my life I have resisted this mentality as being "wishy-washy" and conforming to the world, but God tells us through the words of Paul...

"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." I Corinthians 9:19-23

What powerful words! Paul reminds me that it's not only OK to reach out to others "while the reaching is good", but it's our responsibility!

On an even more personal note, the teen choir is singing "Love Came Down" Sunday. It's a Christmas song with a bit of a twist. If you listen to the words they remind us that God sent his son, that " came down at Christmas time...". I used to lose the message behind the quest for the facts (Jesus wasn't born on December 25th), if I'm honest with myself and remove the glasses, I can see that for what it is...legalism. There it is, plain and simple, I have never thought of myself as a legalist...

Now, when I hear those words, sung by some of our teens, I just get goosebumps.

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18