Merry Christmas, Peace and our “RIghts”

christmas tree

christmas tree (Photo credit: fsse8info)

Devitional Thought of the day:

“As much as possible, and to the utmost of your ability, be at peace with everyone.”. Romans 12:18 (NJB)

 3b  Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. 4  Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping handPhilippians 2:3-4 (MSG)

15  But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 16  but do it with gentleness and respect.  1 Peter 3:15-16a (TEV) 

I hope this post offends as many people as possible:  Merry Christmas” – (facebook meme from National Liberty Foundation)

My son has had a number of homework projects recently where he had to determine which thing doesn’t belong with the others. You know, where you have 3 circles and a triangle, or 3 clowns and a cowboy.  Look at one of the above statements, does one not belong?  Is there one not in harmony with the others?

In recent years, there has been much disagreement about Christmas.  Some want to ban the phrase “Merry Christmas”, or get rid of historic public displays, some secular and yes some religious, that focus on Christmas. Others want to protect “their rights” of free speech and their traditions and memories of Christmas. Sometimes these discussions (and the facebook posts that follow) can get a bit vehement, and nasty, like the post above.

Seeing it in the context of scripture, we hear the dissonance, we hear that the author’s “rights” trump the nature of the very Holy Day they say they want to protect. It is sadly ironi.

But is their an obligation for Christians to surrender their rights, not to the government, but out of love for others?  Is there an obligation to no react in this way, demanding that we get our way, rather than taking the time to explain the reason for our hope is seen in the fact that God came to dwell with us?  To assure us of His love and desire for us to dwell in His presence, even at the cost of the cross? Even at the cost of Christ bearing all our sin? Can we explain these things with gentleness and respect, as we dwell in the peace of Christ we want them to share? Can we forget ourselves and invest our time in those who would oppose Christianity because they haven’t heard why it is good news? Can we love them more than our rights?  Can we like the deacon Stephen in the Book of Acts, actually love and bless those who would oppress us? ( I dare not say persecute – because in this country we’ve lost all sense of the concept of Martyrdom)

Or has our “rights” become an idol we need to protect?

Or can we, in love, lay aside our “rights”, in the hope of showing people the love and will of  a God who would come to us?

Some tought thoughts, as we look at Christmas during advent.  Not as tough as when we realize that people live without the hope we know, and God sends us to them… to bring His love.

Lord have mercy on us, and help us to have a heart like Christ… who put serving those who were lost above His own rights.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on December 16, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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