A healthy fear of the lord for Christmas

By Al Earley - A Religious Point of View

Thanksgiving is behind us now and you are excited about Christmas because you’ve already got that Christmas spirit we all want to experience this time of year: Right? What is the Christmas spirit anyway? I think it is some feeling of joy we get because something happens that makes us feel more special than usual. The older we get the harder it is to achieve, and with the exception of the introduction of grandchildren can seem impossible to experience. Now fasten your seat belts, and go on a bit of a rough ride with me.

I believe God is quite angry with what we have done to Christmas. New phrases describe the shopping experience like “Black and Blue Friday” and “Holiday Holocaust.” Stores and Christians are running away from Jesus so fast so they can be perceived as politically correct.

If this in any way resembles the kind of Christmas you are trying to celebrate then it is time to repent of your sins. I believe your Christmas will be a lot better if you take another look at Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Perhaps you are thinking that is Old Testament thinking with the wrath of God and judgment. Christmas is innocent babies and happiness. That was not so true for all the other infant boys in Bethlehem. Every single boy, two-years-old and younger was slaughtered because King Herod was afraid of Jesus (Matthew 2:7-18).

In fact the New Testament has many stories and writings that God is a God of wrath and judgment, as well as a God of love and mercy. God is definitely slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8). He also gets angry and hates sin (e.g. Acts 5, Romans 1:18-25). That is why the baby Jesus is so dangerous, because he grew to be the man who the religious and political elite would kill because the kind of radical love He taught about is dangerous in a fallen world.

Philippians 2:5-8 guides us toward the Christmas spirit when it tells us that Jesus, though He was in the form of God, was born into human likeness, and later died on the cross for the sins of the world. Think about that for a moment. God, who scattered the galaxies around the universe like sand on a beach became a tiny, completely dependant baby. God, who created each of our cells with two miles of DNA in each cell, allowed humans beings to kill him for the atonement of all of your sins.

God, who does all that, is a loving God who is to be feared. I think if we focus on how awesome, powerful, mysterious, majestic, loving, forgiving, merciful, all-knowing, just, and creative God is, and what a perfect gift He has given us in His son Jesus Christ then we will begin to get that Christmas spirit. As we humble ourselves, repent of our sins, and realize how badly we need a savior because we are so sinful we will begin to get that Christmas spirit. If we realize how much God hates sin, and realize how slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love God is we will also realize that Jesus is the greatest gift we have ever been given.

What sins do you have that you need to take more seriously? Do you hate your sins as much as God does? Do you get caught up in all the shopping and other trappings of Christmas to “get that Christmas spirit”? When you go to church do you expect the choir, or the band, or the pastor to make you feel good so you will get that Christmas spirit? How much time do you spend in prayer thanking God for everything He has given you and asking forgiveness for all your sins, and pouring your heart out for God to be in the lives of others to get that Christmas spirit? When you are overwhelmed with the glory of God, and His perfect gift of Jesus Christ then you will have that Christmas spirit all year long!

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By Al Earley

A Religious Point of View

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