What is the Reason for the Season?

Every year we have to listen to the comments of those who embrace this holiday known as Christmas.  Some enjoy the festivities and prepare with excitement and anticipation of ‘the morning of’.  They bake cookies, wrap presents, prepare an ‘advent’ calendar,  trim trees, and wait for Santa Claus to come down the chimney.

Others claim they center the holiday on the “Reason for the Season.” They become stressed and obsessed with shopping, gifts, parties, decorating their house and trees, church activities and extra activities until their Season loses its Reason.   If some unexpected event turns their well-devised plans upside down, they become angry or depressed.   Feelings of inadequacy, unfinished business, an urgency to ‘get it all done’ before that ‘great and glorious morning’ arrives replaces the joy the Messiah brought into the world when He became flesh. I know.  I lived it.  Though I tried and tried to focus on Jesus’ birthday by changing the Advent tree to a Road To Bethlehem, reading more and more daily Scriptures, baking a birthday cake for an absent baby, it just didn’t do away with the trappings of the wrappings.

“In the countryside nearby were some shepherds spending the night in the fields, guarding their flocks,  when an angel of Adonai appeared to them, and the Sh’khinah of Adonai shone around them. They were terrified;  but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people.  This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord.  Here is how you will know: you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Suddenly, along with the angel was a vast army from heaven praising God: “In the highest heaven, glory to God! And on earth, peace among people of good will!”

“No sooner had the angels left them and gone back into heaven than the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go over to Beit-Lechem and see this thing that has happened, that Adonai has told us about.”  Hurrying off, they came and found Miryam and Yosef, and the baby lying in the feeding trough. Upon seeing this, they made known what they had been told about this child;  and all who heard were amazed by what the shepherds said to them.  Miryam treasured all these things and kept mulling them over in her heart.  Meanwhile, the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen; it had been just as they had been told”  (Luke 2:8-18).

Since our family has embraced the Jewish Messiah as the shepherds who were in the countryside,  we stopped celebrating this time of year as anyone’s birthday or holiday season.  It’s no longer ‘our’ holiday and it has no appeal to us, emotionally or spiritually.   It wasn’t a radical decision that happened overnight and BAM, everything Christmas was gone.   It  was a process of letting go of cherished traditions and warm fuzzies.  The change was gentle, loving and led by the Spirit of God.  When we listened to His voice, read His Word, we found it was His desire to separate us from the chaos in the world and the church around us because He was not part of the celebration nor was His beloved Son.

For the past 20 years, we have had a much more relaxed winter season.   Every stress and struggle disappeared when we stopped insisting  the devil was the root of the problem and  realized the Spirit of God was actually trying to deliver our souls from the god of this world, mammon.  We saved  money and our credit cards breathed a sigh of swipe relief.    We now sit back and watch the chaos around us and pray for Christians to truly find the shalom of Messiah in the disordered season that is supposed to be ‘merry.’

We do celebrate Yeshua’s birth.  We do honor God arrival in the flesh of a human being – Immanu’el.   We remember the birth of the risen King of  the Jews, the salvation of the world at the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall, but without any pomp, obsessive gift giving, evergreen trees decorated with silver and gold, endless parties and financial despair.  It is within a sukkah, the Hebrew word for ‘manger’,  and like Miriam, we treasure all of the things that happened with the shepherds in Bethlehem with a vision and hope for the coming Kingdom.

©2013 Tent Stake Ministries

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