Friday, December 23rd. Titus 2:11-15

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one look down on you.” Titus 2:11-15

 

What if no one opened their presents?

 

What if some sort of strange “Occupy Christmas” movement started and spread like wildfire around the world?  Twitter feeds and Facebook groups all encouraging young people to reject the abject materialism of Christmas and not open a single present?

 

All around the world, parents who had used their hard earned money to buy video games and bicycles and jewelry and the coolest clothes and the latest electronics had to wake up the day after Christmas, knowing that their children had refused to open the presents that had been purchased and wrapped especially for them?

 

It would take a bit of the fun out of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, wouldn’t it?

 

Families would be gathered in the den.  The oldest child, or maybe this year the youngest child, would dutifully play “mailman” and bring each person their presents.  And then no one would open them. 

 

Fathers would get angry and say things like “Fine, if you don’t want what we bought for you then we’ll just take them all back!”  (But then they would start imagining the long return lines and they would change their tunes.)

 

“This is ridiculous!  I’ve never seen anything like this.  I’LL open those presents for you and you WILL appreciate what you’ve been given!”

 

After the wrapping paper they would go, in anger rather than joy, until the den floor was littered with glitter and the new things just lying there untouched.  And there they would lay.  On into the New Year.  On into the days and weeks and months to come. 

 

It would be a shame, wouldn’t it?

 

Yet isn’t this what we do when we close our hearts to God, rejecting the gift of God in Christ by refusing to let God’s love do its transformative work in our lives?

 

The grace of God came down to earth in Jesus, revealing God’s character and love, inviting us to lives that are “self-controlled, upright and godly”.  Yet how often do we leave that gift unopened and ignored?  How often do prayers go unsaid?  Worship services ignored?  Good deeds left undone?  Where does our faith fit in our lives – at the center or out on the edges somewhere?  Do we play in our faith or so we leave it on a dusty forgotten shelf back in the corner of our lives?

 

Does it matter?

 

Can you believe we would ask a question like that?

 

Let us pray:  Stir up your power, O Lord, and come.  Take away the hindrance of our sins and make us ready for the celebration of your birth, that we may receive you in joy and serve you always; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen. 

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4 Responses to “Friday, December 23rd. Titus 2:11-15”

  1. Marlys Says:

    All of advent, I have contemplated what gifts I will bring to the Manger. Thank you for your clear and direct message to all of us.
    It is only Jesus in our hearts that bring the true gift of Christmas!
    Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  2. Carole Says:

    Thank you for your gift of being a messenger–May God bless you this Christmas and in the New Year.

  3. Terry Beloncik Says:

    We have been thinking these thoughts for several years, and down-sizing the ridiculous spending and gift-giving. It is a tremendous relief to focus on the Real Christmas. You might check out a site: http://www.forgottenChristmas.org for a short video that was put together by a friend in Oklahoma City. Powerful message. Hope we can bring about a change in the celebration of this special time in the Christian year. Thanks for telling it real.
    Blessings for a Christ-filled Day.
    With Love,
    Terry

  4. cheap chanel Says:

    not to mention algal s

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