Saturday, December 17, 2011

'Tis this Season to be Holy'

I am participating in Beth Moore's Daniel Study. The study has 'daily homework assignments," that we complete throughout the week and then gather together to view a "session sermon," by Beth. We are recently completed Session 7 which correlates with Daniel 7 and touches on the characteristics of the Anti-Christ/Beast/Man of Lawlessness. In verse 25, of Daniel 7, we read that

" He (beast), shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times , and a half time."

Beth goes on to explain in the homework, that many scholars believe that "shall think to change the times and the law," relates to what we know as our practice of religion. She painted a picture of a time with which we were under a nasty dictator who desired to take away all religious holidays and practices. She then proceeded to ask, what would it do to you if you were not able to celebrate Christmas or Easter with the true meanings behind the commercial costumes? If we weren't able to celebrate Christmas by going to church, would you have an "underground service?" I wonder if that is what individuals are doing around the world that are already under the oppression of a nasty dictator. Would you risk going to jail to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ? Or perhaps the death and resurrection of Christ?

From that, I went a step further in my mind and asked, "What if the commercial aspects were no longer a part of the holidays? Would I anticipate the season as much as I do with all of the commercialism and excitement affiliated with gifts? I'm not trying to be a Scrooge in all of this, but I am trying to truly "set apart" from the world by asking these questions and gauging myself with the Truth, God's Word. I am not going to copy down the entire text from 2 Peter 3 but I will begin at verse 16 where it says, (these are Peter's 'Final Words')
"..There are some things in them (Paul) that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this before hand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

I so encourage you to read the scripture leading up to this passage because it describes a lot of the events behind the final words of Peter. Now, does it say flat out, "The Anti-Christ will take away all holidays and persecute Christians that choose to celebrate them?" Not exactly, but from we do know, He will do everything in his power to twist and mimic the One True God. In Daniel we have learned that Satan goes as far as creating his own version of the trinity: "The Dragon" (correlates to the Father), the Beast (correlates with the Son) and the False Prophet, (correlates with the Holy Spirit). So we can only assume he will attempt to turn these once beloved celebrations of our Lord Jesus Christ into holidays that are centered on him or at least distracting us from their origins.

Do I like the excitement and jolly of the time of year: you bet your boots! But I am so thankful that I was reminded to step back and ask the Lord to renew my mind a bit from the whirlwind of "Christmas-Fluff," and ask myself, would I celebrate the true meaning of this holiday without recognizing Christ? I think many of us, even Christ-followers would find it easy to just buy gifts, sit around a tree, hang up Christmas lights and call it good: especially if it meant keeping us from going to jail. Now these are just holidays, celebrating them or not doesn't mean obtaining salvation or not but they do center on the One who does give us Salvation so it would only make sense to celebrate and honor the LORD for what He has done.

My prayer is to not destroy the lyric, "Ti's the season to be jolly," but perhaps think in terms of another version, "Ti's this season to be Holy." Christ came as the light of the world, to illuminate us and bring us from the darkness of sin into light; to transform us and make us worthy of being in the presence of the Holiest of Holies. By all means you can be jolly but let the jolly be from the fact that Christ has come to make you Holy!

Post comments! Share what the Lord is teaching you in this season!