Follow Me on Pinterest

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Carols?

As I write this, the strains of O come all ye faithful float out to me from my radio. The station is not one that I listen to frequently. In fact, I came upon it in my search for some Christmas music, preferably Christmas Carols, as the Christian radio station I regularly listen to seemed to be giving us some modified, barely recognizable version ever so sparingly. It seems the days of Christmas Carols and Christmas songs, like most traditions, are almost over. Hats off to the few radio stations that still make it a point to honor the birth of our Savior by playing these time-tested favorites.

This may sound like I'm making too much of a big deal over Christmas Carols when I could easily buy my own CDs. That's true, but I may not get as wide a variety as I'm getting on this station, and to put it bluntly, I believe that all radio stations, particularly Christian radio stations, ought to play Christmas Carols during the Christmas season.

I come from an era- and a culture- when carollers went from door to door proclaiming the good news of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in song. They were doing what the angels did when they appeared to the shepherds, who in turn went and spread the news. "And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them" (Luke 2: 17; 20).

The coming of Jesus Christ into the world is still the biggest and most historic event the world has ever known. But we have turned it into another commercial celebration, forgetting that without Jesus there would be no celebration. But we do need to celebrate His birth. God, in the form of Man, coming into the world through the womb of a virgin, to live among us and later die to redeem us to the Father. It boggles my mind just to think about it.

But where is the honor, the respect and the awe that should be paid to this great Savior and King? It is lost in a flurry of shopping and partying and gift-giving, when we have already been presented with the greatest gift anyone could receive - eternal life through Jesus Christ. And that, my friends, is worth singing about.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How do you call?

An interesting part in the account of the creation is where God took the animals to Adam for him to name them. The Bible continues, "... and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof" (Genesis 2:19). God, the Creator, who created Adam and everything else, simply left the naming of the animals to Adam. He made no objections to Adam's choice of names. When Adam called the lion a lion, God left it at that, and likewise when Adam called the mouse a mouse, God nodded His agreement.

What do you think would have happened if God had said, "No, that little thing shall be called a lion and that big thing shall be called a mouse." Then we would be calling those little rodents that scare us to death, lions, and the king of the jungle would go by the name mouse. Those names would have completely different definitions from what they now have. I can see some guys flexing their muscles and saying, "I am a mouse."

In the Bible we find that God puts great store by names. Abram means exalted father, but when God got ready to bless him, He changed his name to Abraham. "Neither shall thy name anymore be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of nations have I made thee" (Genesis 17:5).

Later, God changed the name of Abraham's wife, as she, too, was part of the new covenant He had made with Abraham. "And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be" (17:15).

God did the same thing to Abraham's grandson, Jacob. "... Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (32:28).

God's naming is not limited to a mere name change, but a change in character. He called Gideon "mighty man of valour" (Judges 6:12), Mary is saluted as "highly favoured and blessed among women", and He called His Son Emmanuel, meaning "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

Notice that with all these name changes came a transformation in status, function and blessing. Abraham was changed from a childless man to the father of nations, Sarah from a barren woman to the mother of Isaac, the son of promise. Jacob changed from a trickster to Israel, father of the Israelites, God's chosen people. And we can go on and on.

But the message is clear. Instead of calling ourselves broke, depressed, oppressed and discouraged, we need to call ourselves the way God calls us - blessed, made in His image and likeness, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9). If we do that we will never be defeated by the enemy.