December 19, 2004
I know you didn’t ask for it, but I thought I might just send a few words down to the kids and young people at Grace Fellowship Church this Christmas season. I hope you don’t mind!
I’ve lived through a good many Christmas’s… some happy and some not… and although it took longer than it should have, I think I’ve learned a couple important lessons I’d like to share with you.
First of all, you need to think about this verse at Christmas time when presents come:
James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of lights…”
Here is the funny thing that I have learned about getting presents … if your joy ends in the present (a sled, or video game or doll or new dress) then your joy will end. There is just no lasting joy in things.
Now that is one of the lies of the devil – that you can be happy IF you just get this or that. Fact is, the happiest kid on earth may be the one who only owns the shirt on his back… or less. Happiness is like a snowflake. If you grab a hold of it with your hand it will melt and disappear, but if you let it fall where it will, soon you will have a beautiful field to look at. And what ought you do when you see that beautiful field – why praise God and thank Him for it, that’s what! And the same goes for your toys and such at Christmas. Walter says, think of them as springboards… like the gymnast or swimmer uses. Without that spring, it’s pretty hard to get where you need to go! Well, all your toys and presents are things to shoot your heart to your God in thanks, praise and wonder.
I believe you folks at Grace have a saying: “Delighting in God to the Glory of God.” I like that! You see kids; you can use all those presents… or just the one or two you might get… as springboards to help you delight in God your Maker.
I’m not suggesting you should ignore the presents and toys! No, Walter says use them with all your heart… but just don’t stop at the toy! That good gift is from more than mom or dad or sister or brother – it is from the Lord. And you can thank Him in your heart right in the middle of loving and playing with it!
I knew a boy who got used to getting some pretty big presents every year. Stuff you could only dream of! But one day the presents stopped and that boy… he turned sour and dour on Christmas mornings, like someone had kicked his dog and spat in his soup! He only knew how to find snowflake happiness. And the more he grabbed - the less there was! Even when he grew old and rich and could buy all the things he wanted, he felt all hollow inside – like not enough peanut butter on too much bread. The more he grabbed at happiness the faster it melted in his hand. All the money in the world can’t bring you true joy – joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Some kids think they should only eat the icing in life and leave the rest of the cake for their neighbour’s lama. But even icing tastes bad after a while if that is all you eat. Potatoes may not zing your taste buds, but they help you enjoy that wonderful turkey and dressing! You just go ahead and enjoy every part of Christmas – from watching others open presents, to eating with your big family, to being alone in your room, to thinking about the best gift of all – salvation in Jesus.
One last thing: I suggest you read a lot of the gospels around Christmas time. You could read the first couple of chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Devil would love for you to go through all of Christmas thinking about nothing other than what you’re gonna get on Christmas morning. That is, thinking of nothing else besides you.
Don’t be tricked by his crafty ways of dressing up Christmas to be all happy and joyful, when all he’s really doing is making you cross-eyed from self-look. Cast your eyes off yourself and look to Jesus. Christmas is more than just a birthday party for Him – it is remembering that God loved man so much, He sent His one unique Son, so that everyone who believes on Him will live forever with Him in heaven.
Have a very merry Christmas,
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Old Walter Writes on Life After Christmas
My old friend Walter has gotten into writing letters to our church. They are really quite wonderful! I am not sure I always agree with everything Walter says, but there is always something there to be convicted by or encouraged in. Since Al Mohler and challies both posted this week about honouring and listening to the aged (HT: JT), I thought I would post a letter that Walter wrote last Christmas to the kids in our church. It was great.