WHY IS THERE A SEASON Andy Hollifield 11-24-17
Philippians 4:6-8 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.
By the time you read this, it will be official. Today is the day after Thanksgiving. It is now officially the Christmas season. I have a question though, that I have never found a satisfactory answer for: Why is there a season? I know we say that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and that is absolutely true. But why is there a season? Where is it found in scripture that the attitude of “peace and good will toward men” (Luke 2:14), is supposed to be a seasonal thing? If I am reading my bible correctly, it says in Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through strife and vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” The word “esteem” is used only five times in the bible. The word “exhort” is used only 16 times in scripture and means to encourage or lift up, strengthen, comfort, instruct, and teach. The reason I picked those two words, is because they are both words of action requiring action on our part toward someone else. That isn’t just how we are supposed to treat people at Christmas but rather all year long.
One of the key things we often forget about if we aren’t careful is giving. Oh, I know we all do it but aren’t we supposed to be blessed more by giving than by receiving? According to Acts 20:35 “I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” As I have gotten older, I realize that to be true. Getting gifts is wonderful but for deeper satisfaction of knowing that you made a real difference in someone’s life, try giving. Whether it is of your money, your talents, and especially of your time, it will bless you more to have given it than it will the person that received it. To you, it may not mean much but even the smallest gesture of kindness can often turn a life around.
We are less than a month away from Christmas and the stress is building to a fevered pitch. There are so many demands on everyone’s time that our mind often can’t shut off at night because of the worry about tomorrow. One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 6:34 where Jesus said “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” I am as bad as anybody this time of year, to overextend myself and have to rush around so much that it takes my mind off of “the reason for the season.” It can take the joy right out of Christmas if you let it.
As I began to write this, Philippians 4 came to mind. That scripture tells us what we should be dwelling on in our minds. There will always be plenty to distract from the things we should be thinking on. Not only should we be exhorting and esteeming our brethren, but we should be trying to relieve the suffering of those around us. Christ died that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Jesus also said in John 16:24 “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” This should be the most happy and joyous time of the year especially for those of us that have been born again. This is our day and our time and our gift because we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ. He was and is God’s gift to the world. By his death on the cross he purchased our redemption. Not only that, but Christ would have went through all that he did if it had of just been me that was in need of a Savior. Just for one, me or you, Christ would have still given his life as a ransom for one soul. That is what the real meaning of Christmas is. Not our gifts to each other but God’s gift to us.
So, with that in mind, when the stress of this season begins to wear you down, just stop and think what it is you are celebrating. If you focus on giving to others, the Lord will give to you. Let your joy be full in Christ and carry it on from now on. If we lived that way as Christians all the time, we would draw more people to Christ and we would be able to see more folks saved from their sin. So remember what Paul said to the Philippians, “Think on these things”. When you’ve had about all you can stand, think on these things. There should be no season for living godly. We should love our fellow-man all year round, not just at Christmas. After all, in 1 John 3:14 the bible says “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren…” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!