I know you’re accustomed to a video on Mondays, however this week is going to be a little different. (However, I did include a slideshow for you!) It is Christmas time after all. 🙂 A time when all schedules melt like snow off mittens by the fire. A time when best-laid plans morph into better endings through the course of multiple alterations. Do you know what I mean?
I’m typing this post from the study in my sister, Kelsey’s, house. For the moment, her little ones are napping and Kelsey, too, is recuperating from our many Christmas-induced outings to see lights, Santa, the mall, a “Walk to Bethlehem” at a local church and more. So, I’ve sequestered myself and am doing my best to be quiet, which is oddly challenging even for a “mature” adult.
But that’s what we’ve been discussing lately, right? Maturity.
My new Bible study, Beyond Belief: Jesus Saved You, Now What? is due out on June 2, 2015, and though the manuscript is complete, I’m still gathering thoughts and taking notes on what spiritual maturity looks like, how it acts in a variety of social situations and truly, who can claim to have it.
No doubt, the bustle of the holidays has the potential to bring out the most immature side of people. Just read the Black Friday headlines and you’ll recall what I mean. (Or take a peak: Mall Riots, Walmart Riots)
And then of course, there are the arguments about whether to stay at the in-laws, in a hotel or just not to visit at all. There are the squabbles over new toys and tears over the wrong ones.
Those are minor examples, but what about the deep-seated issues, the traditions and even convictions that we hold close?Tempers and immature behavior can erupt, even among Christians, over disagreements about how Christmas is celebrated or observed.These thoughts bring to mind Paul’s words in Colossians 2:16-17:
“So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.”
There are absolutely, no doubt, solid-as-a-rock, nonnegotiables in the Christian faith. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that Christianity is the most exclusive faith there is. No, no one is excluded by virtue of race, gender, age or any other variable known to man. The exclusivity is in Christ and Christ alone. He is the exclusive way to the Father and eternal life. And that truth starts in a stable.
We must stand firm, without wavering on the truth espoused in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”.
And again, the Gospel began in a stable. We must guard, with all diligence the truth of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection.
BUT, or perhaps I should say and, because this is not a contradiction, but rather a continuation, the overflow of our conviction concerning Jesus:
When it comes to tradition and preferences, whether it’s okay to sing “Frosty the Snowman” or only “Silent Night”, whether it’s okay to put cookies out for Santa Clause or if that will warp our children’s ability to discern fact from truth for the rest of their lives–Christians must respond with maturity.
Does it really matter if Jesus was actually born in December?
Does it matter if there were 3 wise men or 15?
Does it matter?
Does it matter if the whole family is together on Christmas morning or not? Really?
That’s what mature Christians must ask themselves before they take a stand. Does it matter?
The answer is decidedly yes on one thing: “Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.'” John 18:37
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1 Timothy 1:15