Spirit

Written by cycleguy on December 2nd, 2012

One of my favorite short stories of all time is a Christmas story.  Not THE Christmas story.  But one that tells the Christmas story in a totally different light.  In fact, it illustrates the whole idea of the Christmas spirit.  I can remember reading it as a student in elementary school.  The message stuck with me and it seems I invariably make my way back to it during this time of the year.

The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry

I love that last paragraph.  It tells the crux of this short story in a nutshell.  I used it as the conclusion to my sermon Sunday.  I was trying to show what the Christmas Spirit was and have a hard time finding a better illustration.

In my last post, I asked if you had the time to study Luke 2: 1-38 and see what the 3 principles players did that showed the Christmas spirit.  Both Daniel and Zee took a gander and came away as winners!  (Three cheers for them)  :P

Daniel said they acted out of selflessness and their love for God.  His next comment hit the nail on the head:  If we had a bit more of that type of spirit (or Spirit), perhaps the Christmas holiday would be an even grander and more lovely affair.  Amen to that one Daniel!!

Zee stated “I think what unites them is that they all believed God – not simply in God, but they believed what He told them – even though it wasn’t an easy job.”  Well said Zee!  That was one of my thoughts, especially when it came to Simeon and Anna and Joseph and Mary.

I included the shepherds because they acted on the angel’s words and immediately left to find the new baby.  They did what can be seen as illogical and unthinkable.  They defied the rules of the religious and followed the words of the angel.

The Christmas Spirit is more than well-wishes to others.  It is more than saying, “Merry Christmas” to a defiant clerk.  It is more than patience in a mob-setting.  It is more than giving presents (many of which the person doesn’t want or need).  It is an attitude.

An attitude of selflessness and love.

An attitude of trusting God that He will keep His Word.

An attitude of surrender when you can’t/don’t see the future.

An attitude illustrated by James and Della, a willingness to give up what is most dear to you in order to give to another. 

No wonder people are searching for the Christmas Spirit.  It is not something that can be bought, borrowed or stolen.  It is something to be given away.  How about you?  Any more thoughts?  What will you do to share the Christmas spirit with someone else?

Meanwhile, please check out Sele’s post for today.  Ed has also joined in our daily Christmas posts.

 

21 Comments so far ↓

  1. Daniel says:

    I will try to think of others more often. This is a great challenge for me and one that I too often fail at.

  2. Steve Martin says:

    I think I might try and find someone who is really hurting this Christmas season (that should be fairly easy), and then tell them that in this life there is no lasting rest, nor peace, nor victory. But that Christ Jesus has answered all of the pain and grief with His own death…and then resurrection. And that in Him, there is real Hope, for a future where there’s no more tears…just everlasting wholeness and freedom and love.

    Thanks.

  3. Bill, a lot of folks will do “something” for somebody this time of year and feel good about themselves. The question is will they/we continue throughout the entire year?

    • cycleguy says:

      Tragically, you are right Larry. Sort of like churches that visit nursing home to sing carols but never come around any other time of the year. Good point.

  4. tcavey says:

    Wonderful post- loved that you included those 2 comments, very encouraging.

    To answer one of your questions, before Thanksgiving God pressed upon my heart that instead of sending Christmas cards this year we are to send CHRISTmas letters telling people what Christmas means to us- Jesus’ birth and who Jesus is to us. My spouse and I are giving small testimonies of what God has done for us.

    The true meaning of Christmas is being lost to commercialism and materialism and sadly many Christians are standing silent as a small minority are trying to take all references of Christ from the holiday. It saddens me…how much more must it sadden God?

    • cycleguy says:

      I love what your family is doing TC. We never sent cards (cost mostly) but also because of my position as a pastor. Who would we send them to and who not? :) A personal note goes a long way.

  5. As my kids get old enough that they can begin to understand Christmas (my oldest is 4), my idea of spreading the Christmas Spirit really centers around them. I was raised on SANTA SANTA SANTA (and, oh yeah, a dash of Jesus on the side for good measure.) But it’s cool to raise my kids to get excited about Jesus being born and to tell them that we give presents to each other because we’re celebrating Christ.

  6. floyd says:

    I ended up doing a study on Luke 2:35&35 Saturday after reading your post on Friday. As many times as I’ve read those verses, which I couldn’t begin to number, I really pondered the mystery of those words. I had a great time doing the study and came away with a deeper understanding of the resurrection and the implications to not only Christ, but our resurrected souls.

    Sooooo… Maybe I really was the winner? I’m just sayin’!

  7. floyd says:

    Make that 34:35… Proofing before hitting send…. What a novel idea!

  8. floyd says:

    34&35… “Uncle.”

  9. Betty Draper says:

    Probably no more then I do at anytime of the year. There are always someone to share the Christmas spirit with anytime of the year.

    I posted a clip on my blog of a people group in West Papua…it was not Dec when the good news was given to them… it speak volumns to me everytime I listen to it. Blessing my brother.

  10. Jan says:

    Those were great comments from Daniel & Zee! And, I love tcavey’s CHRISTmas letters, that is awesome! In my own eyes, I should be living the Christmas spirit everyday, sadly I fail somedays….praying to touch lives by giving instead of getting this Christmas. Great post.

    • cycleguy says:

      Giving instead of getting. Jan, you are a giving person in more ways than one. We all fail sure, but the secret is to not stop. You don’t.

  11. Debbie says:

    I love reading and learning here. :) I think He has already given me a way to share . ..one that I can keep doing. I have a friend in Jerusalem whose daughters and families both moved back to the States. I want to bless them in little ways each month .. .cards, gifts, money . ..whatever He asks me to do. I want them to feel welcomed and loved here.
    God bless you and thank you for these special Christmas posts!