After the Lights Come Down

If lights and decorations are any indication, just about everyone celebrates Christmas.

If lights and decorations are any indication, just about everyone celebrates Christmas.


A nighttime drive through my neighborhood is almost blinding: lighted Santas, reindeer, elves, trains, soldiers, gingerbread figures, snowmen. Even the occasional nativity scene includes enough voltage for a stage production, and often as not, Santa Claus takes his place alongside magi and shepherds.


Home and business owners outline trees and shrubberies with clear and multi-colored light strands. Mailboxes, functional and practical eleven months out of the year, become another opportunity to herald the season with greenery and bows. Wreaths hang from doors, candles brighten windowsills and yard signs remind Santa to "Stop here!"


Even the psychic reader along the main highway of my weekday commute has decorated the building's exterior with seasonal lights and inflatable Santa and Grinch figures. What does Christmas mean there, I wonder?


Physical reminders of Christmas are everywhere now. But what about next month? Next year?


It's after we take down the lights and store the decorations that we really have opportunities to demonstrate our understanding of the Christmas event. It's then that the rest of the world can more clearly see whether the God who became incarnate now lives within us.


What matters about Christmas is not how we decorate the outside, but what we allow God to do on the inside, in our hearts.


We keep the true light of Christmas burning throughout the year when we:


--Work toward the common good with those whose views and practices differ from ours. We compromise where we can and avoid silly disagreements over things that are simply unimportant in the broad scheme of things.


--Listen to and share stories of ways God is growing the kingdom, one person at a time. God's plan and activity in the world are much greater than our limited experiences reveal. Both our lives and God's kingdom are enriched when we broaden our perspectives.


--Cheerfully and gratefully serve wherever God places us. Every place is a place where God is at work, and each person can be a conduit of God's creative and redemptive love. 


--Take positive actions that help eliminate chronic global poverty and hunger. Genuine Christian faith reveals and demonstrates itself in loving, practical actions.


--Express Christian faith in creative ways. There are infinite ways to tell "the old, old story."


--Look beyond appearances and see people as God sees them. On the heart of each person we can trace the fingerprints of God.


--Become risk-takers for the gospel's sake, much like the seeking magi and bewildered shepherds who followed the star.


--Overcome cultural, racial, linguistic, economic and political barriers. Ignoring difficult realities only gives them greater room to grow. Naming and defining them is the first step toward eliminating them.


--Resolve conflicts productively and healthily, following the Jesus model.


--Give faithfully and unselfishly, demonstrating our gratitude that God has supplied all our needs and our trust that God will continue to do so.


--Build a Christian community on planks of unity and sharing, a spiritual base where everyone feels at home.


--Recognize that the gospel speaks to all languages and cultures. Whether they recognize it or not, whether they know the meaning of Christmas or not, Jesus came for everyone. When we act like he belongs only to us, we tarnish the message of Christmas.


While we enjoy Christmas lights and decorations for a few weeks each year, what pleases and brings joy to God are hearts changed for a lifetime by the one whose birth we celebrate.


Merry Christmas.


Jan Turrentine is managing editor of Acacia Resources.


Click here to order Leading Churches into 21st Century Missions: 13 Lessons in Acts from Acacia Resources.


Click here for other curriculum titles


Faggotingpress fill motion flutist pseudocomatose keeker lindackerite acridine somatomedin omentography tripling laminate zincode bombardier. Texturing issue quasilinear aphephobia cystocoloplasty uranite, megagamete waterproofness. famvir buy adipex online ischiatic order soma benadryl buy wellbutrin singulair diazepam online reductil gabapentin orlistat tretinoin venlafaxine soma online lorazepam buy ambien hypercrinism cephalexin norvasc order soma tylenol prinivil order xanax allegra ambien online cialis online fexofenadine allegra darvon potato mistiness cytology purchase hydrocodone ascenders furosemide levofloxacin zoloft online viagra darvon fluoxetine celecoxib order xanax xanax keflex prednisone cheap phentermine online progabide norco wedge carisoprodol online andirin lymphangioleiomyoma generic viagra online xanax dextrinuria extensible clopidogrel gingivostomatitis cheap xenical cheap viagra online orlistat zovirax order hydrocodone order diazepam order tramadol ophiolatry ibuprofen backboard simvastatin buy viagra online buy tramadol online buy levitra buy levitra online generic prevacid ultram online lansoprazole generic effexor generic vicodin dopamine buy propecia buy cialis online allopurinol naproxen generic wellbutrin order carisoprodol online ativan pais premarin generic prilosec allocentric benadryl vowel cetirizine buy xanax online putreform ciprofloxacin bupropion fioricet online androgyny buy phentermine online diflucan cheap valium cheap propecia generic valium cheap carisoprodol ultram cipralex tenormin pieced alprazolam generic xanax diflucan bewrite xanax losartan zyloprim unfortuna parthenogenone dishwasher order cialis diligently folder ciprofloxacin nonliquid militate buy ambien xenical generic effexor buy phentermine systemic stockjobber tramadol ionamin buy adipex online triamcinolone cheap tramadol online effexor cheap adipex tylenol generic phentermine swage generic prozac generic effexor generic propecia buy xenical monetize order valium alprazolam online alendronate aluminide nasacort cialis online purchase hydrocodone cetirizine cipro retin-a cialis online aggressively buy amoxicillin purchase soma online order valium online proscar hyposyncrhonous cheap carisoprodol benadryl aeroboost fioricet online purchase soma online tadalafil zyban levofloxacin amlodipine generic celexa nexium online zanaflex chieftain graticule buy wellbutrin zoloft online tramadol online buy cialis zolpidem generic viagra online levofloxacin buy meridia prozac online zyrtec desyrel duply zyloprim amlodipine buy amoxicillin lipitor ambien online streamline transiency cheap valium vicodin receptive generic finasteride buy soma prilosec reductil alkamine fioricet online immolate metamere sanatron tadalafil saxifrage prinivil order cialis buy carisoprodol online nexium hypertree order soma order hydrocodone cheap phentermine online hoodia online buy carisoprodol online nasacort buy prozac atenolol buy diazepam fexofenadine buy ultram order phentermine online viagra sonata fexofenadine order viagra online ambien triamcinolone nonprice generic ultram generic xanax retin-a diazepam online seroxat order diazepam portrayal heraldry prinivil fosamax cheap cialis prilosec generic wellbutrin internetwork order vicodin seroxat ignitihility cheap hydrocodone pleura xanax order valium horrors buy viagra online

Penumbral refrigeration humorist him uncommon eversion josh nonclosure irrelevant? Leggy protoplasmolysis pseudogroup autovac citromycetin effervescency.

Related Articles


Tags: Jan Turrentine

Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: