” . . . holy.”

“So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant.  Instead, be holy in all that you do, just as God who called you is holy.” (I Peter 1:13-15)

It has almost a dizzying effect, doesn’t it?  I stood at the end of the aisle in the photo and felt myself being pulled into the canyon of assorted Christmas balls of seemingly every size, shape, and color.  It had such an impact that I just had to take a picture.  It’s here, whatever we call the season.  Is it pre-Advent, or pre-holiday, or pre-Christmas, or __________ ?  I don’t exactly know what we call it, but it’s certainly here.  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This is not a Scroogish sort of message.  The truth is, I love all the fun of decorating.  As a matter of fact, I’d like to have a tree covered with every ball on that aisle and thousands of lights, but I’d have to cut a hole in the second floor and roof of the house to accomplish it.  (I wonder what sort of saw that would require?)  My decorating has been called, “tastefully tacky,” so you get my point.

Our decorations and traditions have evolved from our attempts to celebrate the most important gift in our lives – God’s invitation to holy relationship with God through holy love freely given in Jesus, the Christ child.  Our decorations and traditions have evolved from our efforts to understand and play with the mystery and wonder of God’s holy love.  When we string the lights and boughs of holly we’re to be reminded that we welcome anew God’s holiness.  However, the problem we face today is that our decorations and traditions have also helped us create an alternative Christmas celebration that is detached from and void of the true mystery and wonder of God’s holy love.

None of this is really new news, but I find from time to time it’s important to restate it for myself so that the store aisle of Christmas treasure in my photo above helps me celebrate the wonder and mystery of God’s holy love in Christ instead of leading me down the road to an alternative Christmas celebration devoid of God’s holiness.  As tacky or silly as my decorating might be, all is meant to send a message that something very, very special is happening.  It’s more than holiday cheer or goodwill.  It’s something holy!  I’ll never understand it, but I can’t wait for another chance to celebrate it.  That’s what I’m getting ready for with my lights, trains, reindeer, and a new surprise in my front yard this season.  I pray that with every strand of lights I string, my prayer will be, “Come Holy Jesus, come!”  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on November 19, 2014.

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