From The Pulpit: Christmas kindness continues

Pastor Dan Deardoff, Blessed Redeemer Lutheran Church

According to a quote I once read, “All some people want for Christmas is for it to be over.” Do you agree with that sentiment? Judging by how quickly Christmas, or the commercial version of it anyway, is swept under the rug by retailers to make room for Valentine’s Day, there must be some truth to this saying. But for the majority of us, the opposite is true. We are slow to take down our decorations inside and outside our houses, because we want that Christmas “feeling” to linger.

Despite what you have been told countless times, Christmas is more than a “feeling” or a season or even a state of mind. Christmas is when God sent an undeserved present to earth, the gift of His only Son to be our Savior from sin. Titus 3:4-5a puts it this way: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” That is encouraging, because if Christmas is all about God’s kindness appearing in the person of Jesus, then it can’t disappear in January. Jesus didn’t pack up His bags and return to heaven after making a guest appearance in Bethlehem. His appearing was only the beginning of our salvation story that continued to the cross, the empty grave, and ascending on high.

And that is why in January the church shifts into second gear when it comes to Christmas. We celebrate what some call “Christmas of the Gentiles”, or “Epiphany” which begins on Jan. 6. Epiphany begins by celebrating the Magi visiting Jesus, bearing gifts and led by the star. In some parts of the world, this is the really big Christmas celebration, and when gift giving is done to remember the Magi’s gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Those gifts remind us that Jesus is a king and a sacrifice all wrapped into one gift of kindness.

So where do we come in when it concerns Epiphany? We come in the same place we come in at Christmas time. All of our gift giving if it is properly done reflects the love of God. As 1 John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” You don’t have to rush out and do Epiphany shopping or Epiphany baking and decorating. But acts of love inspired by Christ, the “kindness of God” are appropriate all year long. Any time of year is the right time to help feed the poor, donate to a food bank, or visit a lonely shut-in. As a Christian author Dale Evens Rogers once said, “Christmas, my child is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” So, let Jesus, the “Kindness of Christmas”, continue to inspire you!


The Brandon Valley Journal


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