FOR LACK OF WONDER (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-FOUR)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

There used to be a sort of magic in the air around this time of year. I remember being little and marveling at how the Church would sing the Christmas hymn “Silent Night” with an attitude of wonder and awe.

The eyes of those attending Christmas Eve services were filled with such hope as they held their Christmas Eve candles high in the air. Pride for our Savior used to be evident as we welcomed Christmas Day with a time of reverence together, in unity.

But, the wonder has gone away for so many. Only a few eyes still twinkle with a glimmer of hope. There are, but a couple of arms still holding their lights high for others to see.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “We are perishing for lack of wonder, not for lack of wonders.”

Perhaps Christians have allowed the consumer culture to consume the whole point of Christmas? Sure, giving gifts and decorating the tree is fun, but how much more could we marvel at the Messiah if we didn’t allow those distractions to get in the way?

I have a question for us to think about today… What does Jesus marvel at us for? You know, there are only two times recorded in the New Testament where Jesus is said to have marveled.

Mark 6:7 records that Jesus marvels at the unbelief in Nazareth, and in Luke 7:9 He marvels at the Centurion and His great faith. I wonder if today Jesus is marveling at our unbelief or our great faith?

Listen, I have a passion to see the Church become like the shepherds who, as soon as they laid their eyes upon the Messiah, hurried to go and tell everyone they could about Him and what they had experienced. I long for Believers to be like the wise men who brought gifts to their newborn Savior because they recognized that He alone was worthy.

I long for us to want the wonder again.

The wonder that has left our homes. The admiration for Christ that has left our Churches.

I would be bold enough to say that most of us stress about presents and parties and punch each Christmas more than we think about the manger, our sin, and the cross in a whole year.

Is tonight the night revival breaks out because we actually seek the One true King?

Perhaps tonight, on Christmas Eve of 2021, the Church will choose to marvel at the only thing that has ever mattered. May we want the wonder.

“And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.””    (Luke 5:26)

O HOLY NIGHT

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

WHICH SPIRIT HAVE YOU? (BLOGMAS DAY SEVENTEEN)

(Post by: Scott & Lincoln Hobbs)

I was in a Bible study this week and the question was put to the group asking how we get ourselves ready for Christmas. You know, the whole Advent thing? This preparation for the birth of Jesus. Not the actual birth you realize; but the symbolic day, December 25th, that we set aside each year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, Messiah, Savior, Emmanuel, King of Kings. Could this be preparation for the Christmas Spirit? 

Let’s come back to that.

The comments were actually heart breaking. A couple of the folks were just done with Christmas all together. The only preparation they were interested in was to prepare for December 26th; and it couldn’t get here fast enough. Why, you ask, were they wanting Christmas to be over? Well, it was because they said they had lost the Christmas Spirit. The world had driven it out of them.

You see when Christmas becomes what the world makes it, even things that are good can drain us.  Family gatherings where everyone is sitting around scrolling on their phones and seemingly only showing up out of obligation or ritual. Or the joy of refereeing family members that are still carrying wounds from years before that they have inflicted on one another. Gift exchanges that have completely exhausted us physically, from shopping, not to mention exhausting our bank accounts. Often for gifts that folks just throw in a closet and sell at a garage sale in a few years.

I’m back. Didn’t even miss me did you? I just got off a phone call with my great aunt. She turned 90 a couple months ago. I told her I was writing about the Christmas spirit; what did she think? Her comment was that Christmas had changed so much since she was a kid. Her memories were of not having much money, only a few gifts, and cooking ahead because they only had the one wood stove. She fondly remembered the 3 foot tall, artificial Christmas tree, with very few needles left on its branches, that they used every year. Neighbors really cared. Her mom would always send $1 to a boys home somewhere in Indiana. She told of how kind folks were to each other, and that it was more genuine than it seems to be today. 

So back to our Bible study discussion; the question was posed about how we could keep the Christmas Spirit. We also pondered the difference between the Christmas Spirit and the Spirit of the Lord. Here’s your recap.

The Christmas Spirit seems to be this spirit of joy and happiness that surrounds this holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus. While the Spirit of the Lord is with us all the yearlong when we know Jesus as our savior. So, is there a difference? I think not. 

If we know Jesus in our hearts; like really know Him, then our lives should look different the whole year.  Not just the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And guess what? Mean cousin Eddie or unappreciative little Sally should not be able to steal your Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of the Lord; whatever you decide to call it.

“Christmas is a time to experience the spirit of Jesus coming into the world.  In the other 364 days we should be experiencing the joy of Jesus coming into our hearts. We need to celebrate the spirit that God gives us, not just on Christmas, but all the time.  Honestly, I have missed what Christmas is all about. I mostly just think of the presents and the food. That is good stuff, but it is totally not what Christmas is about.  I found this verse for all of us to think about. This should be for everyday, not just Christmas day.”  (Lincoln Hobbs)

“I will put my spirit in you and cause you to walk in my ways.”  (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

It was said of old Scrooge that after that, he kept Christmas in his heart all the days of the year. What will people say about us? Which spirit have you?

I STILL BELIEVE IN CHRISTMAS

The choir’s singing carols
Bells are ringing, streets are bright
It’s Christmas all around me
So why is Christmas hard to find?
December snow is falling down like I am to my knees
I could use some hope right now
‘Cause right now hope is hard to see
Help me still believe

For God so loved this broken world
He sent His only Son
To a carpenter and a teenage girl
To show us all His love
He left His home in Heaven
To make Heaven my home
My Emmanuel is with me
And I’ll never be alone
Down here, my heart can’t find much to believe in
But I still believe in Christmas