First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Cut to the chase!

December 19, 2015

If your Christmas tree is down 12/26, you're doing it wrong.

 

Our family has one member who has been known to still have their Christmas tree up in early February. Yes, a real tree with decreasing amounts of needles still offering a Christmas feel. (Love ya sis.)

 

On the other hand, I know folks who put their tree up in mid November in anticipation of 12/25, then bust that thing out the door the day after Christmas!

 

I also know a lady from our first parish who has a deciduous tree in her house year round and she decorates it according to the season.

 

Well, I am not Ebenezer Scrooge, but I do want to elaborate on two things.

1. How we get a little crazy about preparing for Christmas.

2. How we tend to procrastinate about Jesus' second coming.

 

Christmas, traditionally set on December 25th is the day we celebrate Jesus' birth. God took on flesh and lived among us.  The scriptures in Luke 2:21-38 tell the story of Jesus and His parents going to the temple on the eighth day for dedication purposes (circumcision).  Already we have reason to celebrate Christmas eight days after 12/25. In the church, we celebrate Christmas for about two weeks after the fact.  Then we move through The Epiphany and on toward Lent and Easter.

 

The thought just occured to me that folks don't get caught up in the frenzy of Jesus' death on Good Friday as they do for Christmas.  Hmmm, I wonder how the event that allows our salvation to be possible could carry less significance than the coming of our Savior. I value both events but do see a marked contrast between Christmas and Easter. I don't see people 6-8 weeks before Good Friday decorating, buying, and planning huge party extravaganzas for the daeth of Christ. Easter may be another matter. That's for another post in the future.

 

From a pastoral perspective, I love to see women and men become ensconced in preparing their hearts for Jesus' return. Can you just imagine people scurrying around soaking in God's word through Bible studies, then sharing their faith in Christ to others through meaningful ministry outreaches. Imagine people getting all excited about helping others come to faith in Jesus Christ.  Oh the rejoicing that would be going non-stop in heaven if the Church would be unified in Spirit and effort to take Jesus to one more person who struggles in sin.

 

Because nobody knows when Jesus might return, one would think there would be a greater urgency to work and prepare hearts. It appears on some days that urgency has been replaced with lethargy. 

 

        "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a

        thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand

        slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But

        the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be

        destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed

        in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look

        forward to the day of God and speed its coming." (2 Peter 3:8-12, NIV)

 

Friends, it's okay to live lives with passion for Christ and compassion for people. As long as you have breath in your lungs, you have opportunity to carry Christ's salvation and hope to another human being. Get crazy about Jesus and watch what he does with your excitment. He'll use you to allow a non-stop heavenly party.

 

        "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than

        over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:7, NIV)

 

NOTE: We get to celebrate Jesus 365 days a year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I personally know my wife would need some time to recover from having a child.

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