If you are like me, it took a long day, or maybe even more than one, to get out those boxes of decorations and turn your homes into fantasy lands of colored lights, sparkly globes and shiny tinsel. Awhile back I finally gave into my sons’ groans and stopped hanging the handmade elementary school ornaments. Still, I have a fondness for macaroni glued to a paper plate, spray-painted gold and flecked with green glitter, and toilet paper rolls attired in shiny red paper, white lace, and sequins. They bring back a lot of precious memories my sons will not understand until they have their own masterpieces hanging on an evergreen limb.
And have you ever noticed that people adorn themselves as well? Not their clothing, though this time of year I see magazine and newspaper ads full of expensive, gaudy clothes I would never have a place to wear. I am talking about their behavior. Even the biggest heathen in the world does not want to be called a grinch and struggles to adorn himself with “the holiday spirit.” I am glad that at least one month a year we must put up with less grouchiness, less complaining, and less selfish behavior from the public at large. But I wonder what God thinks about it.
The true Christian has the “mind of the spirit” no matter what month the calendar shows. He is liberal in his giving, not just to get in a tax deduction before the end of his fiscal year, but because he truly wants to help others. He is considerate of others, not because someone has reminded him with a poke in the ribs that “it’s Christmas,” but because he is in the habit of serving others. He smiles and laughs, not because he has indulged in a little too much “holiday cheer,” but because he lives a life of joy as a child of God. He shows courtesy in traffic, in parking lots, and in long check-out lines, not because of the lights and wreaths hanging all over town to remind him this is the month for “peace on earth, good will to men,” but because he lives that way all year long.
Next week the calendar will change. “January” will signal the start of a new year. Will my behavior change as well? Or do I live the same way regardless of the calendar, as a Christian who follows in the steps of the one I claim to be my Lord--kind, courteous, considerate, joyful, and full of goodwill to all?
Put on therefore as God’s elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any, even as the Lord forgave you, so also do you. And above all these things, put on love which is the bond of perfectness, Col 3:12-14.