Friday, December 07, 2012

The Spirit of Christmas

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. Luke 1:29

I have a question for you, “What seems to be the Spirit of Christmas these days?” I was listening to someone speak about their travels and as they checked in their luggage, over the entrance to the conveyer “cavern” that their luggage passed through was mistletoe with a sign, “Kiss Your Luggage Goodbye!”

Kinda sums the spirit of the season, doesn’t it?  What other time do we do a minor renovation of the home, bring in a dead tree, cram 30% more appointments (parties) into our already marginless schedules, heap a ton of relational expectations that are hardly reasonable and do it all on an altered diet of high sugar, high fat foods?  No wonder Christmas can be stressful!
Now let me ask a different question, “What was the prevailing spirit of the first Christmas?  Read for yourself…very slowly…
  • Zechariah: Luke 1:12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.
  • Mary: Luke 1:29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
  • Simeon: Luke 2:28-29 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.
  • Joseph: Luke 2: 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
  • Shepherds: Luke 2:9, 20 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
  • Magi: Mt 2:10-11 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Sum all this up and would you not agree that unmistakably the spirit of the first Christmas was wonder! I like Ravi Zacharias’ definition of wonder from his excellent book Recapturing Wonder: Wonder is the possession of the mind that enchants the emotions while never surrendering reason.
Whether because we have heard too much about the Christmas Story or we are going too fast to ponder its truths and their ramifications for our lives, we are in danger of blazing through this season again and coming away with all the stress, all the calories, no significant experiences of Wonder, and worst of all, no life transformation whatsoever.  What a shame that would be!  I have good news; you still have over two weeks to course correct!  Why not create the margin and enter a rhythm of pause throughout the coming days to sit before God and His word and wonder again! Why not take our Advent Guide or the Beyond Sunday part of the sermon notes that accompany the sermons and sit and ponder?  What would you have to lose?  What would you have to gain?
This Sunday is a big one at PCC.  We will look at The Wonder of Miracles: Nothing is Impossible With God and study someone who in my mind is one of the bravest Biblical characters besides Jesus.  Her name is Mary!  Read up in Luke 1:26-38.
After the morning gatherings, don’t forget that you have the opportunity to meet in Room 20 at noon to interact with Dain Jepson, Carlos DeVitis and Tabatha Mason who are all shifting to new roles in their pastoral call at PCC in Operations, Family Ministries and Worship respectively.  You can access informational packets about them here.   
I’ll see you on Sunday!  I love being your pastor!