The Seven Gifts of Christmas #5

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Tom Harpur, in his article in the local paper this morning, was lamenting the inevitability of things going back to the normal murder and mayhem now that this Christmas season is already becoming a distant memory. He wondered why this “essentially spiritual message of a glorious and universal myth...” has been relegated to the trash can of the human mind.

Duh! If it’s a myth, Tom, why believe it? Why give it credence? Why live by its message?

Perhaps this strange contradiction is the heart of the message God delivered to John for the church in Sardis, found in Revelation 3:1-6. God says: “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die” (3:1, 2).

The first gift of Christmas was a return to “first love” (Revelation 2:4), as though there had been something there that had gotten lost in the shuffle of life. Here it seems that hypocrisy is the issue—pretending to be what one never was. The message goes on to remind the reader that the true believer, the overcomer, has his name written in the book of life (vs. 5) from which he can never be removed. The pretender has no such guarantee and God calls on him to repent before it’s too late (vs. 3).

This fifth gift to give the Lord in celebration of His  birthday is A WHOLE HEART. There are many people who live well, morally and uprightly, but who don’t really believe at all. To them, as to Tom Harpur, the Gospel is just a nice story, a myth that might manage to make some surface changes in a person’s life but then again might not, because it is, after all, only a myth.

Only when the Gospel is accepted wholeheartedly can permanent life-change begin. Then and only then will the message of Christmas be one lived out three hundred and sixty-five days each year.


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