Friday, November 1, 2019
Halloween is over. The fall deer hunt is in full swing. Thanksgiving is coming with its tryptophan-induced naps during football games. Christmas excitement with family is just ahead. For me, this is the most exciting time of the year.
One of the things I love about this season is the decorations for Christmas. So many people took advantage of the beautiful weather we had in October and put up their outdoor lights early and abundantly. As I look at the lights that are already on, 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. Other houses have a manger scene front and center and lit up. I think it is appropriate to consider that what is displayed defines the people that live there. To some, Christmas is about the giving and receiving of gifts. To others, Christmas is about God’s Gift to us, and God only knows how much His Gift is really appreciated or even understood.
On one evening drive, I noticed 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.
Isaiah 28:5 In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.
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 glory 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.