Friday, December 17, 2010
Today’s Topic: Left Out
Today’s Text: Isaiah 11:1-3 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
Early in December my wife and I were trying to decide if we should buy an artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree. It was a hard decision. I love the real tree, and so does she, but it is getting so expensive every year to buy one. A very nice artificial tree would pay for itself in 4 years with the real tree savings. But we just couldn’t force ourselves to spend that much money up front. So we bought a real tree again, which smells and looks wonderful, but we are going to watch the closeout sales on the artificial ones and if we can get the right tree at the right price we just might do it. (There’s one we want at Menards so if anyone sees them go on clearance before Christmas call me right away.)
Anyway, while we were looking at trees, we were also picking up other Christmas gifts. One of the items we were looking for was a stable for the display of one of my wife’s nativity sets. She collects them and has a variety of them from all over the world and different places we’ve visited. The hand carved one we got from Swaziland is very special and she wanted a stable to display it.
We were in particularly “red” department store and didn’t see any nativity sets or stables or mangers. We decided to ask a clerk where they might be. His response shocked us but is truly indicative of the spiritual state of things in America. He said, “We don’t have any. We didn’t even order any this year for our stock.”
Imagine that – Christmas without Christ. What’s left? Mas? What is mas? Well let me tell you what mas is in different languages.
In English, mas is a symbol used in astronomy. So? Well, if we leave Christ out of Christmas we may see and study the stars but miss the Star that leads us to Christ.
In Iceland it means chit chat or small talk, which describes the depth of relationship we experience with people and with God when Christ’s love is left out.
People in Indonesia know mas as gold, which becomes the pursuit of everyone who leaves Christ out of Christmas. We learn to trust human resources rather than God. We become takers not givers.
The Italians use mas as an acronym for a motorized attack ship – a torpedo boat. War will be the result leaving Christ out of culture.
Finally, in Danish, the word mas means trouble. As a verb it means to crush. When we choose to leave Christ out of Christmas we are inviting the troubles of this world to crush us. Without Christ there is no wisdom or understanding. Without the Messiah there is no direction for life – no counsel. Without the humanly powerless baby in a manger we will never experience the limitless power of His eternal presence. If we reject the Child that was given to us at Christmas we will perish for lack of knowledge.
But add Christ to mas, and in any language it means hope. It means salvation. It means life. Look at what the prophet says about the Messiah Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
In Latin the word mas means man. Christ the man, the Son of God. Without Christ all hope is in man. With Christ man’s hope is in the Savior of the world. Life without Christ leaves us hopeless. Life with Christ gives us everything we need – for today and for eternity. Don’t leave Christ out of Christmas.