rick & 1j13
Monday, December 22, 2003
Really good day yesterday. Service was simple yesterday morning: our praise team's Christmas concert, "Feel The Joy", was wonderful. I really appreciated it, in spite of the pounding headache I carried all morning. I went straight home, as my lovely wife took care of the kids all afternoon, and took a lo-o-o-o-ong winter's nap. It worked - got rid of the headache, and we were ready for the Christmas party last night. Seeing our friends from church together outside the church building - that's cool, especially with no kids running around and worrying what they're getting into.

This week, I want to have stories and conversations with my kids about Christmas. All of the cartoons and specials have a fairly common theme - getting rid of Santa means that Christmas is cancelled. Well, the last time I checked, Santa wasn't around for the first one - letting him sleep through this one won't tear apart the fabric of history. I want to do more with it than sentimentalize the holiday around a cutsie baby in a stinky stable, too - I want to help my children to begin thinking now about who Jesus really came for... He came for the Father. In forgiving sin, God's character trait of justice was incomplete - not punishing sin reveals a lack of holiness. Jesus came as a sacrifice - somehow, in perfect love, maybe only sacrificial mercy can balance out holy justice.

Anyway, we celebrate as the "fringe benefits" of Jesus' gift to the Father. We might imitate that gift, thinking that we're giving as He has given to us. But we haven't died to complete God, and we haven't saved the human race from hellish extinction. Last time I checked, Santa hasn't done any of that either.
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