Do we know what we are celebrating?

I enjoy the lights and color of the Christmas season and will often go out of my way to view the Christmas lights that various families display on their homes and lawns.  But in spite of the sparkle and glitter, I am finding a hollow place in my spirit when I look for the reason people are celebrating.  I haven’t dared to start a tally sheet to keep up with the overall themes of each display, but I find I have to look harder to find nativity scenes and Christmas stars than to look for Santa Claus and Snowmen.  I had to laugh when I considered that perhaps the reason for the high number of snowmen I see might be that these might be the people’s only chance to have snow again this year here in coastal South Caolina.

So what are we celebrating anyway?  If it has nothing to do with the baby Jesus, are we celebrating the things money can buy?  Are we worshiping the gifts we give or receive?  Or are we only celebrating an excuse to throw a big party and impress others, or an excuse to get a few days off work?

During the week of Thanksgiving an article appeared in a weekly newspaper in a neighboring town that really disturbed me for much of the same reason.  I wrote about it in my “new” blog I had started before I discovered WordPress Blogs, so I would like to take the liberty to copy it into this post. 

I just read an editorial that makes me nauseated. It was given the headline “Thanksgiving should not be such a selfish holiday.” Sounds good so far…? …right? But that’s about how long the good in the article lasted. This article by Debi Ghate, who is tied in with Ayn Rand Institute, then went on to bash any credit anyone should give to God for our blessings. According to her, God had nothing to do with the prosperity our nation has enjoyed. Her idea of being thankful is to gloat over all the money we have access to and to take credit for it all. Here is one quote from her article: “Ask any hard-working American: it sure wasn’t by the ‘grace of God’.” Another quote from near the end of her article reads: “One should take pride in being rationally selfish–one’s life and happiness depend on it. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recognize what we are truly grateful for, to appreciate and celebrate the fruits of our labor: our wealth, health, relationships and material things–all the values we most selfishly cherish.”

Atheistic people are constantly trying to erase all memory of the influence God has had on the building up of this great nation. The truly selfish person thinks if God is going to give us something we should just sit back and wait for him to act like a big Santa Claus and bring it to him. I guess that is why the idea that it is God who gives us the intelligence and the physical strength to hold a good job simply never occurs to them. They have no grasp of things like character and the methods God uses to develop it in us. If all there is to life is what we get with the least amount of effort, then her empty head must be satisfied today–until she hits a bump in the road tomorrow. Then, of all people, she is to be pitied when her house of cards tumbles down.

Not every statesman who founded the United States of America was a Christian, but most had a great respect for God. It is all over those first documents they wrote and signed. The first Colony that survived in America was the Pilgrims. That was no coincidence. Our nation is developing lots of cracks because our foundation of faith is being attacked from every side. And sadly, Christians have sat and let it happen. We have let our children soak up the Hollywood philosophy of life from TV and movies, and then we wonder why so many people, even in our churches, are willing to act just like what they have been mindlessly absorbing.

We have Christmas parties and hope God doesn’t show up because we certainly are not honoring his Son with the games we play and the jokes we tell. Just because we are getting better at forgetting he exists, there is no reason to believe he doesn’t. We don’t get the last word on that, HE does. I shudder to think what will happen in America when HE speaks up, and he certainly will. Where will our Babylon be?  (If you’ve never heard of Babylon, look it up in a Bible concordance.)

I hope you have had a meaningful Christmas, and that you will be richly blessed in the new year.

Christmas Eve musings

It’s Christmas Eve.  I hear a lot of firecrackers from every direction in our neighborhood.  I lament that most of the Christmas decorations in people’s front lawns have little or nothing to do with the baby Jesus. 

I have truly enjoyed participating in various activities leading up to Christmas–decorating the church, practicing for the choir Christmas program, I even helped make my own opportunity to go Christmas caroling this year, something that is almost a thing of the past.  This evening we had our annual Christmas Eve Communion Service that was especially nice.

But inside I am wrestling with so many things.  I am envious of those who are able to keep a nice house and decorate it for Christmas.  This gift has elluded me as I spend so much of my free-time in front of my computer trying to make things happen.  I seem to stay head-over-heals in one project or another.  I finished knitting my black sweater Saturday night so I could wear it on Sunday.  I have a picture book manuscript and illustrations ready to send out to a publisher, but have found myself turned upside down when it comes to submitting it.  I did my homework and went to the bookstores to see which publishers come closest to making a good fit for my book.  But when I searched for each publisher online I came to the same dead end… They are not accepting unsolicited manuscripts.  Or they will only consider agented authors.  I’ve only contacted one agent so far, but he says he will not work with picture books because they are not lucrative.  He left me with the impression that no agents want to work with picture books.  My book is very good and it is part of a larger project that includes a very unique marketing plan.  I have been working on this project for a year and a half.  It is not half-baked.  I believe God gave me this vision for a reason, I just don’t understand all the dead ends.  I’ve had to be careful not to lean over my keyboard so I wouldn’t drip tears into it.  This has been a very blue day.

As I knelt at the kneeling rail for communion I saw the reflection of my face in the cross on the altar.  I believe God was reminding me that he cares for me and he hasn’t abandoned me.  I must continue to trust in him and remember that he is in control.  “All things work for the good of those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to his purpose.”  I’m asking for prayers of any who read this post.

I think I’ll dig out a few Christmas decorations and put them up in my house.  After all, Christmas is tomorrow.