Friends had invited us over for a Christmas visit. As we arrived, we noted how beautifully the outside of their home was decorated. We rang the doorbell and were ushered into their living room. In one corner stood their Christmas tree, sparkling lights amid golden tinsel. Packages were piled beneath the tree, awaiting Christmas Day. A striking winter scene picture hung above the couch. Candles burned brightly in the bay window. Beneath the window was a manger scene. A fire in the fireplace made us feel cozy and warm. Our gracious hosts had taken great care in decorating their living room for Christmas!
CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT LIVING -- The celebration of Christmas is a celebration of life. Jesus Christ, the life of the world, has come to be with us. Jesus Christ, in word and in deed, lived life to the fullest. He has promised to all who will listen and obey, to teach us how to live life to the fullest. Jesus says to us, "I am life, and I offer you life as a gift. Rich, full, overflowing, abundant, extravagant and bursting-at-the-seams life -- life that begins in the here and now and crescendos into the then and forever. Believe what I tell you, and live.
CHRISTMAS -- celebrates the lifestyle that receives God's stamp of approval. At the center of the Christmas celebration is the Tree of Life. All of life is rooted in God; He alone is the source of all life. Christ Jesus is the living trunk. The Holy Spirit branches out from the trunk, and we, the people of God, are the living leaves on the Tree of Life. As long as we remain attached to the tree, we are alive; detached from the tree, we merely exist.
THE TRAGEDY OF CHRISTMAS -- is that too many are content to exist, going through the motions, thinking they are alive. Sin causes us to become detached from the Tree of Life. Selfishness, greed, lust, envy and jealousy, hatred and anger, pride, gluttony, and apathy are the visible fruits of mere existence and are the death of life.
THE GLORY OF CHRISTMAS -- is that Jesus Christ comes and defeats Sin. He throws out the rotten fruit of existence and kills old Death. Jesus Christ strengthens our ties to the Tree of Life. We no longer have to settle for a sinful existence; we can enjoy the richness and fullness of life!
CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT LIVING -- Let's live in such a way that God will smile on us and bless us. Let's shout out the good news of God's love and saving grace. Let's light up the world with our good deeds. Christmas is the time to give up our pursuit of the "good" life and accept Christ's offer of the "best" life.
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 12/06/2018
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