I told the Lighthouse on Sunday that I once heard someone say that they were taught by their father that “Christmas is real, its the rest of the year that’s pretend.” I’ve been thinking lately about the “spirit of Christmas.” Its an interesting concept isn’t it. God has a Spirit. Many say that people have a spirit. We are warned of evil spirits. We pray for spirits or angels to protect us. A team has spirit, we say. Or, they lacked spirit. Maybe things have spirits. Visit the ocean. The mountains. A North Dakota prairie sunset. But things like Christmas?
There certainly must be a “spirit of Christmas”, or why else would I be sure that that package under the tree that looks a lot like a vacuum cleaner is something else. What else would explain my pure joy and excitement once again at socks and underwear as my gift from Santa. How else would we put on a smiley face for sister Joan’s family and her 4 nasty, obnoxious, evil and demonic kids invading the house again this year? How else would kids believe in Santa and nag their parents to leave a glass of milk and cookies out, even though they don’t even have a chimney. What else would explain all of this rampant generosity as people push and run over each other on Black Friday to lovingly and graciously buy presents for their dear children. The spirit of Christmas!
There must be a spirit of Christmas, because if so there would be opposing spiritual forces. That’s how it works. And there are. We talk about the “holiday blues” and Season Affective Disorder, depression and addiction triggers: while often forgetting satan and the demonic oppose anything that has to do with Christ Jesus and God’s redeeming grace. And that is what this is about you know. Its about Jesus, Immanuel, God incarnate, here to reveal God’s love for you and me. And here’s the good news. Satan winces. Grinds his teeth. Clenches his fists. For he knows that though he is able to cause distractions, he will loose again this year. Oh ya, his interference matters, these things that throw a monkey wrench in a God redeemed Christmas. They matter. The trimmings and trappings, they often distract us from grace, pure unadulterated grace. But they will not win! God will be victorious, Jesus will come again this Christmas and the spirit of Christmas will live on!
Enjoy it my friends. It doesn’t get more real that this. In another week or two the pretend part will start all over again.
See you at the Lighthouse,