12th Dec, 2007

The Battle Rages – Redeeming Not Just The Season – A Synchroblog

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24.

We are truly at war, yet we are fooled to think we are on holiday. It’s been this way from the beginning.

“In the beginning, God created…. Genesis 1:1.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said . . . ‘Did God really say?'” Genesis 3:1.

“BUT the Lord God cried out . . . ‘Where are you?'” Genesis 3:9.

“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21.

We are surrounded by beauty. Beautiful Christmas trees, lights, the finest apparel and foods, parties, and everything our heart could desire. It’s been this way from the beginning.

“In the pride of your heart you say, ‘I am a god[.]’ . . . ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and pefect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God . . . You were anointed as a guardian cherub . . . You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. . . . Your heart became proud . . . so I threw you to the earth.'” Ezekiel 28:1, 12-19.

We revel in our own glory. We may have heard that all we see and glory in will wither and fade, but we don’t seem to know it. The one who tricked us from the very beginning is still at work and excels at it.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they have have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith . . . .” 1 Peter 5:8-9.

Even now, in the midst of a season set apart (made holy) in remembrance of the most amazing mystery and miracle of all eternity, the humbling of God on our behalf as He set out in search for us (His words “where are you?” still echoing throughout the eons of history), the greatest sting of all time is taking place, with our enemy masquerading in the Christmas lights, transforming a celebration of humility into a celebration of hubris. We’ve turned a season about giving into a season about getting.

We must have MORE.

What is more anyway? More is just the English name for “Mammon.” Get it? As we chase selfishly after more, materialism, consumerism, stuff, bigger, better, it’s all about me, we are simply feeding the beast – our enemy. And we can’t worship both God and More. It’s one or the other. We are either with Jesus or we are against Him.

Ironically, as we ring up more and more consumer debt on our Visas and Master Cards, to “redeem” means to buy back, or repurchase. God had a plan to buy us back even though He never sold us. We sold out ourselves to the slavery of self and Mammon worship, hoping to attain a bit MORE knowledge, and all God ever did was begin looking for us, setting in motion a miraculous plan of grace and love to bring us back home. It is sad, but not unsurprising, that Christmas has become just one more season sold out to More/Mammon, but it isn’t just Christmas that needs redeeming, and, praise God, He has done everything required to redeem it all.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30.

Redeeming the Season is the Topic for this month’s SynchroBlog. Now there are a variety of seasons being celebrated at the end of each year from Christmas to Hannukah to Eid al-Adha and Muharram, from the Winter Solstice to Kwanzaa and Yule. Some people celebrate none of these seasonal holydays, and do so for good reason. Below is a variety of responses to the subject of redeeming the season. From the discipline of simplicity, to uninhibited celebration, to refraining from celebrating, to celebrating another’s holyday for the purpose of identificational evangelism the subject is explored. Follow the links below to “Redeeming the Season.” For more holidays to consider see here

Recapturing the Spirit of Christmas at Adam Gonnerman’s Igneous Quill
Swords into Plowshares at Sonja Andrew’s Calacirian
Fanning the Flickering Flame of Advent at Paul Walker’s Out of the Cocoon
Lainie Petersen at Headspace
Sam Norton at Elizaphanian
Bryan Riley at at Charis Shalom
Secularizing Christmas at JohnSmulo.com
There’s Something About Mary at Hello Said Jenelle
Geocentric Versus Anthropocentric Holydays at Phil Wyman’s Square No More
Celebrating Christmas in a Pluralistic Society at Erin Word’s Decompressing Faith
Redeeming the season — season of redemption by Steve Hayes
Remembering the Incarnation at Alan Knox’ The Assembling of the Church
Biblical Approach to Secular Christmas at Glenn Ansley’s Bad Theology
The Obligation of Christmas at Jonathan Brink’s blog
What’s So Bad About Christmas? at Julie Clawson’s One Hand Clapping

Responses

Thanks for being in the hunt on this one Bryan. Good points of conviction. Grace and Peace on you in this season.

Thank you, Phil, for being an excellent host. I am glad I am able to participate and enjoy the thought provoking posts everyone provides.

That reminds me of Tom Lehrer:

It doesn’t matter how sincere it
is nor how heartfelt the spirit
sentiment will not endear it
what’s important is the price.

We are truly at war, yet we are fooled to think we are on holiday.
A truly brilliant observation on the tension and contradiction that is Christmas for so many. Thanks.

That’s a fantastic poetic quote, Steve. Thank you for including that here.

Tim, telling someone they did something brilliant is always good. Thank you. 🙂 I frustrate myself with how easily I fall prey to the distractions of all that surrounds me. Rather than being prey I need to live a life of prayer.

Thank you for this. There is much to consider in that word “mammon.” And I want more. Of God.

Excellent reply, Jenelle, and thank you for stopping by!

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