It's hard to believe Christmas is almost here. I know that for many it is a time of struggling and hard feelings; just keep in mind Who it is all about. Jesus came that we might have joy. I, for one, love this time of the year. I love the fact that I recognize a few songs playing at the store. I love the lights on people's houses. I love the nativity scenes everywhere. I love A Christmas Carol. I love going to our families different homes and mostly always staying home on Christmas Day. I love the "how many more sleeps till Christmas?" question that Grace asks every day. I love putting up the tree. I love wrapping gifts (and I stink at it). I love handing out the presents..."Toooooo mommyyyy from Daddy" I could go on and on. I love the traditions of Christmas.
One tradition we have is buying the kids an ornament each year that represents an event or fascination the child had that year. One day, when our children get married, we will give them their ornaments to put on their tree, as a reminder of their child hood. Above is a picture of Alex this year with his ornaments thus far. What you can't really see is that the second ornament is broken. It is a white ceramic teddy bear, or at least it was. Last December, as we were putting Christmas decorations away, the box with the ornaments fell to the ground. Most damage was minor and affected only the "throw away" ornaments; except Alex's second year ornament-the bear's lower half was shattered...paralyzed for life.
I tried super glue, but it didn't work (on the bear, my fingers-yes). Stacey was a litle upset, but time heals-that is, until you pull out the bear this year. It was a nasty reminder of last year's blunder. The irony is-that is the only ornament we didn't buy. That was a rough financial year and we couldn't afford one. Someone gave Alex that one because they knew he loved teddy bears. Get it? We were "Broke" that year...anyways.
We still put it up on the tree, and we will always do so. It's not hung on the back side of the tree or behind a big branch. It hangs there with all the others in all its glory. Just because it is not what it used to be, doesn't mean it can't still be a testimony and continue to represent what it was designed for. We love the broke ornament...somewhat even more.
In churches like ours-that preach the truth, standards, holiness, sin hatred; at times some people feel "intimidated." They feel they can't possibly be that way and the Devil discourages them or makes them quit. Others, there was in their past a mistake, or an accident, or a sin tragedy that left them broken-not what they used to be. The Devil again lies to them and convinces them that they are not as good as the others and will never fit in-that they should just quit or go to a church that doesn't preach the whole Truth so they will feel more comfortable. Don't listen to the Devil. He is a liar and the father of all lies!
Fact is, if you look at every one of Alex's ornaments close enough...they all have flaws..except the brand new one-but it won't be long for that one either. The ninja turtle's sword broke off and had to be glued. Scooby has no right hand. The tonka truck's ladder is broke and lying on the table. They all have flaws. Thus they all hang on the front of the tree and we love everyone of them.
We love them not because of their perfection, but for who they represent. None of us are perfect, we should strive to be the best we can-but the best of men are still men at best. God loves us, and our church should love us not for our perfection, but for Who it is that we represent. We belong to Christ. You may have a "right hand missing" or have "dropped your Sword." You may have been broken to where you can't do what you once did. You may even have had a tragedy like ornament #2. Don't quit!! Forget not Who you represent and continue to adorn Christ with your life.
1 Peter 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.