RETRIEVING CHRISTMAS

3 12 2012

timthumbThe Prophet Isaiah writes in the first chapter and the 18th verse of the book that bears his name these powerful words of divine invitation: “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “though your sins are like scarlet- they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson—they shall be like wool.”

What personal matter in your heart of hearts and in your own little corner of the world you dwell within needs to be settled this December?  Are you still knocking yourself out trying to not only make everybody else happy, but come to some sane and lasting inner peace yourself on your own?  Without the Mass of Christ to celebrate- sadly we are left with nothing more than just the mess of us to attempt to negotiate our way of dead ends and far from happy endings!  We are in way over our heads!    

Let me take you back to ISAIAH chapter 1 where verses 15-17 add: “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!  Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

So we do have a choice.  We are placed in a place of cross roads! We can choose to give up our self-reliance and take him up on his offer to “Come to him” and do it God’s way or we can spend lots of time and energy and money and resources to try our best to cover up our inner despair with outer decorations! And boy do we go to great lengths to attempt to make something that is dead on arrival to somehow appear alive again!

Christmas Trees are a prime illustration and example of what I am talking about.  Here we take an all but dead plant and adorn it with a wonderful array of dazzling colorful lights and hang our heartfelt sentimental ornaments upon its branches and we put a star or an angel on its tippy top and none of it can change the fact of the façade that this forest creature needs to face and that is it is already dead- or worse yet fake and phony and was never alive in the first place! But we people do the very same thing!  Rather than come clean and rally together to reason with the Lord and humbly invite him to forever change our artificial state into something evergreen and make our colors into the true hue of who we really are- we go the good works and lots of outer make-up route! We go to extreme measures to try to prove that we are royalty when in reality we are only rotting away! Humans for years have been going to drastic means to hide their desperate state! We all in vain try to hide our vainness in an effort to validate that we are something special and we want others to know that we really do matter!

One of the colors of the Advent Season is purple!  Many of you already know that we in the church associate the color purple with royalty! But- did you know why?  The answer has to do with very expensive snails! 2000 years ago- when Christ lived on earth-the color purple dye was the most expensive one to produce- and only kings could afford such fashionable extravagance! In fact- just one ounce of dye cost more than an entire pound of gold!!! Why was it so expensive? Believe it or not- the royal dye called “TEKHELET” in Hebrew was squeezed from snails! The extracts were boiled down to come up with the color purple! It took over 10,000 Snails to make enough dye for just one robe. But a royal robe alone is not enough to make one regal! As a matter of fact, many of you this Christmas will be squeezing the snails of your last dimes and pennies to try to give you a wardrobe of self-worth and sorely it won’t work!  You can’t make something royal if all you have are rotting ingredients to work with!

And Jesus, whom they mockingly dressed in purple when they scoffed at him being the King of the Jews and crucified him and had his own life squeezed out of him, did so in order that our colors could change and would change forever! What is the sacred shade of salvation? What is the true tint of eternity? What is the honored hue of hope?

Retrieving Christmas is looking for all of your gifts in the right place by gazing lovingly into the right face! It is reaching out with outstretched palms into the nail scarred hands of the one who was born that you might have a life that will never end! It is spending less time at the mall and more time at the manger!  It is spending less money on presents and investing all of your heart into the presence of God who makes all things new! Jesus was born this day to live a life a perfect way that you and I could never pull off even if we had an endless amount of time on the clock!  I am truly dreaming of a White Christmas but one that God can make come true! Even though our sins may be as scarlet, because of the red blood of Jesus shed on our behalf- we can have a clean slate as white and pure as snow! This December- it is time to retrieve Jesus!  It is time to receive Jesus! It is time to stop squeezing snails and allowing God to hold us as he always desired to do so!


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