Saturday, February 24, 2024

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Celebrating Jesus

By Amy Patsch

I bought my Christmas cards this week. I would never have considered buying my cards this early except I was inspired by the Hallmark coupons that arrived in my mail. Normally I work from a selection of boxed Christmas cards and send out about fifty each year to friends far and near. Of course I usually have left-overs from prior years as well but when I checked I had no cards at all. 
I decided not to wait and I was glad as I found the selection of ‘faith’ cards available for purchase to be rather limited. This trip to the card store was a visual verification to me that our country has become very much less Christian over the years. 

Going into a store to buy Christmas cards years ago meant there would be a large selection to choose from with the majority being centered around Jesus’ birth. I could choose cards with Bible verses on the inside and the manger scene, or the wise men, or the entire holy family on the outside. The deciding factor might be the quality of the card or my favorite sentiment. 

This year the faith cards section took up about 3’ worth of 15’ of tiered shelving. The remainder was holding non-faith Christmas cards – how is it possible there is such a thing? Even within the faith section some of the cards had only a faint religious tone and no Bible verse or mention of Jesus at all. 

Just coming out of the season of Halloween I thought how far we as a country have separated ourselves from Jesus and affiliated ourselves with the very one that tempted Adam and Eve in the garden. The enormous and plentiful decorations celebrating the dark spirituality of Halloween were in stores months prior to the holiday and were displayed in yards everywhere. 

God is real and Satan is real. Every person alive has a choice to make of who they will follow. Some people don’t intentionally chose to follow Satan but by choosing not to follow God they default to the other. 

The Bible tells us that God is seen everywhere in His creation if we have eyes to see and hearts open to understanding. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20. 

Psalm 19 tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.” 

For those of us that know the God of the Bible and know the Son of God, Jesus, we are certainly aware that Satan is moving about and doing his dirty deeds throughout the world. He is the one tempting men and women into addiction, abuse, and all kinds of other evil that affect us all. 

If we do not tell others about Jesus we are leaving them open to the devil’s schemes. Unknowing that there is a better way they will run gladly into the glitz of the world and try every horror that is being offered. Unless we tell them, our friends and family will not have the knowledge that they are choosing to give up peace, love, caring, and joy. Otherwise, some would choose wisely to have their lives directed by Jesus and be saved from suffering at Satan’s whims. 

Paul warned the Colossians to, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” And he tells us the reason we have to put these things to death is because, “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” Colossians 3:5-7. 

This earthly sin nature is what Satan stirred up when he ushered temptation into God’s garden. Unless we intentionally chose to follow God we are doomed. 

Going into this holy season of Christmas all of us that are Christians should consider how we might invite family, friends, and acquaintances to join us in the celebration of our Savior’s birth and with that opportunity opened we can explain what our Savior means to us and how we depend on Him for our very life. 

Personally I am planning to use those recently purchased Christmas cards that all have wonderful Bible verses proclaiming Jesus as the Savior of the world. Each year I enclosed a Christmas letter telling how God has worked in our lives this past year. Also, when visiting family and friends I can joyfully express my delight in my Savior so they might see my life has been changed because of Him. 

I pray that this Christmas season God will draw many hearts to Himself. He can use our voices, our cards, and Christmas letters to shine the light on Him. This year let us all show others by our words and actions that Jesus truly is the Reason for the Season.

ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com

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