Monday, November 29, 2010
Today’s Topic: Who Gets the Attention?
Today’s Text: Isaiah 28:5 In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.
Thanksgiving is over and the tryptophan has worn off. The deer hunt is done and the meat is already in the freezer. Black Friday is history and today is Cyber Monday. For me, things look a little more settled right now and a routine has returned. I am happy about that.
One of the things I love about this season is the decorations for Christmas. So many people have taken advantage of the beautiful weather we have had and put up there outdoor lights early and abundantly. As I look at the lights I wonder what the people who put them up believe. What specific decoration is the center of their display? What particular theme are they trying to present. Many times it’s very obvious.
The most frequent theme of Christmas displays is Santa Claus and his reindeer. He’s on the roof of some houses. He’s in the front yard at other homes. Now I’m all in favor of some fun, and I’m not being judgmental, but I must say in all honesty that those displays define the people that live there. I don’t know to what degree it is true, but the materialism of the world has captured their hearts at some level. To them, Christmas is about the giving and receiving of gifts, and God only knows how much His Gift is really appreciated or even understood.
As I was driving around the other night near my daughter’s house in Sun Prairie, I was noticing all the lights at a couple of homes up ahead. As I got closer, I slowed down to observe a spectacular display that looked like a cooperative effort of two neighbors. I did not see a Santa Claus. I did not see any reindeer. There were no elves. There were, however, thousands of lights brilliantly illuminating the surroundings. They were strung from every tree and fence post. They surrounded the windows of the house and outlined the roofline. And in the most prominent position of the adjoining properties, right near the road, were a manger, a star, and a cross.
The theme of their display was not subtle. The beliefs that they held were not private. The attention was not on gifts, but THE GIFT of God in Jesus Christ. Their hope was not in presents, but in THE PRESENT.
In today’s Scripture reading in Isaiah 28, the first of six woes are proclaimed upon the nation of Israel. The first one involves all the attention that is given to man’s accomplishments and man’s desires. The materialism of the people was extravagant. But God was proclaiming an end to such beliefs and values. The wreath of Ephraim’s pride would be destroyed, and the Wreath of God would replace it. God not only demands but is worthy of all glory.
So when you hang your Christmas wreath this year, make sure all the attention of your decorating is on Jesus. Make a statement to your neighbors that Jesus is Lord, and He is THE GIFT that deserves our full attention.