Archive | December 2015

Post Holiday Depression

Recently our church did messages pertaining to the music behind the annual, month long Christmas production.  It is huge, attended by 100,000+ this year, and FREE.  The focus of the messages was on the songs used in this production, songs we all know and love like O Holy Night.  One of the things mentioned in a sermon was how Christmas music stirs up hope and anticipation in us during this season.

This had me wondering, is this why there is a feeling of depression among many of us after the hustle and bustle is done, the torn shreds of wrapping paper have been tossed and the house returns to quiet?  Even for the non-believer or sometimes Christian (the ones who only darken the doorway of the church for Easter and Christmas), there is a sense of excitement that builds as the lyrics of silver bells and snow falling etc, play repeatedly through December.  We have all this hope for a picture perfect holiday, and even if we manage to achieve this, the fervor fades away with the last good-byes of friends and family as life returns to ‘normal’.

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Photo by Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net

The songs around the holidays speak of the longing for a savior to come into this world, a king who would rescue the people from oppression.  Christ was that King.  The over all world took little notice of His birth.  His birth isn’t even something we are commanded to celebrate, that was the thought of the church in an attempt to convert pagans who celebrated the winter solstice, to give them something to replace it.  We are commanded to remember His death and resurrection.  And we know from scripture He will be returning, to abolish evil, gather His people to Himself, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  The bible doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of those end times.  Meanwhile we who place our faith in Christ Jesus are supposed to be living in anticipation of this return.  It says He will come like a thief in the night, no one knows the day or hour but make no mistake, He IS coming back and there will be no more chance to save the souls of the unbelievers.

 

So then, why are Christians not living in that sense of anticipation every moment of every day?  Our focus is too often on the here and now, and not on how every single thing we do and say has eternal significance.  How would it change everything we do, think and say, if we live with the hope that it is happening today?  That every work task carried out was with its eternal reward as the driving force, the pleasing of our Father, the longing to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” from His lips?  Surely if that is not the desire of our hearts, we need to stop and evaluate our faith’s walk.  We don’t do this to gain God’s favor, we who are washed in the blood of Christ do it because we HAVE His favor in Christ and we long to imitate our Savior in living a life worthy of the price He paid.  The bible says we will give an account for every careless word we speak, our actions and even our thoughts which we are to take captive to Christ.  Certainly we will fail, we are imperfect and will sin. But we are not supposed to unpack and stay there.

I ask myself, and my readers, are you shedding that sin daily? Are you living in expectancy of His return at any moment?  Does that not impact how you live each day?  Get in the Word of God, stir up that hope in things with an eternal significance, live in His grip like there is no tomorrow.

 

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Paper vs. Digital In Faith

iStock_000019755169SmallSo much about this world around us is advancing into the digital world.  Even our bibles are now available in digital format on our phones and tablets.

In many ways I am loving the technology available to me to help me in my walk with God.  My church as a great app, Crossroads Anywhere, which allows me to live stream the services if I cannot attend, has a weekly devotional work that is associated with the past Sunday’s message, and keeps me in touch on happenings around the church.  I love this app.

I love that the verses of scripture are projected on screens for all to see during the services, along with other things pertaining to the message, and song lyrics.  This cuts down on the need for hymnals or other song books, print bibles for those who don’t own one, which really is a cost savings and there is no need to wait while everyone is paging through their bibles to find the passages as we move along.

I love that every book I could want to read, including my bible, is available on my Kindle to go with me anywhere I go, as opposed to lugging books themselves around with me that could get forgotten, not to mention who wants to drag a stack of reading material all around when a Kindle slides right into your purse.

Technology rocks, make no mistake, and I LOVE the devotional apps I have at my finger tips on my phone like She Reads Truth, and First 5, which by the way are excellent.

But NOTHING can replace the feel of my old, leather bound bible in my hand, the sound and feel of those onion paper pages, filled with notes I’ve scribbled  in the margins and highlights over verses.  Just something about it, holding it, reading it, there in my hands, can never be replaced by technology.