Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 23 December 2016

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5, verse 14.
One more set of thoughts about solid food…and Christmas. We gain strength from solid food. Our bodies – our spirits – gain strength and maturity from consuming things that build us up. Today is the day before the day before Christmas. If you’re a “Friends” fan, it’s Christmas Eve Eve. Have you considered that now is the time you should be hungry? Contrary to the popular Christian idea, I actually think that now is the time you SHOULD want more for Christmas. You SHOULD want the whole big Griswold Family Christmas.
Make sense? Probably not; let me explain. It’s because of Hebrews 5, verse 14.
We’re sinful fallen human beings. Like it or not, our ancestors took onto themselves something they’ve passed down to us through our genes: sinful nature. You have one. So do I. Sinful nature is how we can take a beautiful thing like undeserved grace and make it into a consumer-driven mega-holiday we call “Christmas.” Sinful nature is how we can want more and more stuff and still not be satisfied with it. If you don’t believe me, name for me the big gifts you received each of these last 10 years. Chances are, if you’re like me (and I believe you are), you can’t. We think we can gorge on solid food but we don’t realize that if we eat too much steak when we can only tolerate milk, we’re going to end up gripping the spiritual toilet, barfing up what we can’t handle.
Yet we SHOULD want more, we SHOULD want all the love, peace, joy, and happiness that Christmas represents. Why? You know the answer: they’re love, peace, joy and happiness! Don’t make it tougher than it should be! And here’s the kicker: love, peace, joy, and happiness are food for the mature. They’re food for a weary soul. They’re the simplest, most child-like things we can imagine and yet it takes a mature heart to grasp them. More important, it takes a mature spirit to share them, to give them away. Best of all, it takes a mature soul to give them unselfishly, as undeserved grace, to people who don’t deserve it.
Make no mistake: people don’t deserve it. We spend all year treating each other like crap and yet, at Christmas-time, we say we want to make amends and share that love, peace, joy, and happiness. We say we want to do those things because we want them ourselves. Yes, we actually are pretty slow, dull and dim, and yet even the slowest, dullest, dimmest of us want that love, peace, joy and happiness. News flash, friend reader: it’s a good thing to want them. It’s a good thing to look through all the bad things in the world and focus on what’s right and good, especially at the time of the year we set aside to celebrate them.
They’re some of the best of the fruit of God’s Spirit. Love, peace, joy, happiness: apart from God, you can’t find them. Apart from the Savior in the Manger, you only get stuff, you only get a facsimile of love, peace, joy, and happiness. Real love, honest peace, true joy, and lasting happiness can only be found at the feet of Jesus. When you, crushed sinner, bow at His feet and humble yourself in repentance, He takes your hand and you get to look into His eyes. There you see only love, peace, joy, and happiness.
You should want that. It’s the best Christmas gift of all.
In our house, Christmas season starts, oh, probably around May. It’s the consequence of marrying an Elf. My wife is happiest when she’s doing things for others, and I know of nobody better who demonstrates the love, peace, joy and happiness that are knowing Jesus through Christmas than the woman who was crazy enough to marry me. She plans all year long for Christmas, making lists, arranging finances, solidifying plans, and spreading honest cheer. The season kicks into full gear around October; these last two years it has been exacerbated by this thing called “the Hallmark Channel.” She’s been on the floor organizing presents all afternoon, and in a few minutes we’ll go out to give cookies and candies to our neighbors. It’s her thing; it’s a huge part of who she is and I wouldn’t have her any other way. My Hunnie knows a lot about love, peace, joy, and happiness. In a world set against them, she’s chosen to learn about them from following Jesus.
He’s the same Jesus who, God Almighty, decided the best way to meet His greatest creation, humanity, was by coming as a defenseless baby in poverty, then growing up to teach the world about love, peace, joy, and real happiness. Christmas comes this weekend. It’s a herald for the truly beautiful holiday a few months down the road at Easter.
Merry Christmas my friends. Wishing you love, peace, joy, and happiness…and some cookies and Hallmark movies as well. Feast heartily on them because they are the best food for a maturing spirit.
For further reading: Matthew 4:4, Hebrews 6:1, 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 3:2, 1 Corinthians 14:20, 1 Peter 2:2, Isaiah 7:15, Psalm 46:10
Lord Jesus, thank You for Christmas, for coming here to live with us, for being our Savior in the manger.

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