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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Can We Celebrate Christmas Without Santa Claus?


by Arthelo Palma

2 Samuel 18

Can We Celebrate Christmas Without Santa Claus?

The spirit of Christmas is once again gleaming along the busy streets, filling the air with songs proclaiming the birth of Jesus Christ, and reminding everyone for swapping over of gifts and asking and giving off forgiveness.

Let us advance deeper into this point by first understanding the kind of love a father must have to his child.

A father will never allow something bad to happen to his son/daughter. This exactly what David felt when his men fought against Absalom’s men. David commanded his men to be gentle with Absalom (verse 5). After all, Absalom was his son. David’s love for Absalom never changed even though he competed with him for the crown. On the other hand, Absalom ousted David from the kingdom, but the latter did not retaliate in anger as he realized he sinned against God that he must bear the consequences of the wrong things he had done (2 Samuel 16:11).

What is clear to me in this whole chapter of 2 Samuel 18 are two essential characteristics that God would want us to have among ourselves.

First, God would want us to understand that we need to love, and even those who hate us (Matthew 5:44). So we need to release love and forgiveness, the very manifestations of great generosity that God Himself has done first for the humanity. Our Father in Heaven is releasing us forgiveness that is why He allowed Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross just to restore our relationship with Him, and give us eternal life (John 3:16). God wants to remind us that this must be the real essence of Christmas that every one of us must always put up with in our heart, the real and genuine concept of giving that God Himself has done and that material things cannot compare.

Second, God would want us to be consistent at all times to live in humility. David’s meekness was shown when he released forgiveness to his son Absalom, because he realized that everything that happened was due to the consequences of his past mistakes, and so he needed to undergo God’s discipline (2 Samuel 16:11). Just like David, we need to agree to the fact that we fell short of God’s glory because of our transgressions (Romans 3:23). This should be a perfect act of showing a humble heart before the Lord.  

Having all of these characteristics instigated in us would help us realize that the material things are not necessary important for the celebration of Christmas because the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is MORE than the visible and materialistic gifts that Santa Claus is offering us. 

God’s message:

God’s love for us is not materialistic, but real and genuine.

God’s promise:

God wants us to be generous, humble and forgiving like Him – showing love for all.

God’s command:

Love our enemies, love unselfishly, release forgiveness and always live a life free from any hint of arrogance – hard to do, might be, but these are what God would want us to understand about Christmas.

God’s warning:

Our heart will be full of guilt if we remain holding grudge against our enemies.

Applications:

Follow what Jesus Christ said about real love.

Prayer:

Father in Heaven, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, please open the heart of Your people upon hearing Your Word today. Help us understand the real essence of Christmas, so that we will not be deceived by worldly offers and comforts. This we ask and pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!  

photo credit: Sam Howzit via Flickr cc MORE DEVOTIONAL ARTICLES HERE>>
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