The Advent season. A time of great tradition. It is widely celebrated in both the Christian culture and the secular culture. Although the secular culture doesn’t necessarily understand the significance of the Advent, they do enjoy their Christmas. They put up Christmas trees, decorate their houses with lights, go to or host holiday parties, exchanging gifts with one another in grand celebrations. When it comes to viewing things from the outside, one would think everyone is celebrating the exact same thing, they would be terribly wrong.
That is just it. When there is no difference in the celebration, is there a difference at all? When my unsaved neighbors put up their Christmas tree, what goes through their heads? Do they ever wonder where the tradition of the tree comes from? The origins of the evergreen tradition in the season? Do we, as Christians, as we set up our tree, talk about the significance of the tree? What does the tree stand for? When was it first introduced? Beyond the tree, how many nativity scenes do you have? When you pull them out of the box and set them up, do you talk about the story? Honestly? Or do you just set it up in a rush to get done so that you can enjoy the decor for the next month?
Wanna know what the world is talking about? Money. They are talking about money. Corporations are looking at the season, and they salivate at the profit margins. It is the season in which they go from the red to the black. In the retail world, that is from being unprofitable to profitable. It is why it is called “Black Friday.” When you buy those gifts for all your loved ones, do you stop to consider the significance of giving gifts at Christmas? When you tear open, those gifts, is a thought given to the greatest gift ever given? How long is that mentioned? For what part of the day is that dwelt upon? One hour on Christmas Eve? Depending on what day is Christmas, maybe one hour on Christmas day? For the Churchgoer.
Interesting how important it is to keep Christ in Christmas yet the amount of time spent truly being wrapped up in the actual Spirit is limited to a few Sunday’s, (keep it short) and a special service on the Eve of . . . But not too late! When Christmas lands on a Sunday, i have seen churches shorten services, combined them if they have multiple services in a day . . . Why? Because attendance drops if Christmas is on a Sunday. What does that tell you about keeping Christ in Christmas? Have you heard the statement about Black Friday? It goes something like this, “Because only in America do we wait in line and trample others for sale items one day after giving thanks for what we already have.”
You know what has become more important than Jesus? Tradition. Want to know what became more important to the religious leaders two thousand years ago? Tradition. Want to know what hasn’t changed? God’s opinion of man’s traditions. i am not saying it is terrible to have traditions, not at all. What i am saying is when those traditions become what we celebrate, when those traditions are the very thing we need in order to celebrate, it is that mentality that has led to how and what we celebrate at Christmas. If we look no different than the world, then we are no different. Make this year different. Maybe we all need to try a little harder to get in the spirit of the Advent . . . Without the influence of tradition, just once.
5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” Mark 7:3-9
You are loved,