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Including Christ in Christmas

Monday, December 26, 2011

by Dr. Paul Chappell

"And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

Mark 8:34-38

While some may not have much this season, all can enjoy the gift of Jesus Christ.

I was recently flying to a speaking engagement and was looking through the in-flight magazines provided by the airline. The items being sold seemed superfluous and not really items most people need. Below are a few of the items the magazine was advertising:

THE MARSHMALLOW SHOOTER
This clever pump-action device shoots sweet, edible miniature marshmallows over 30', and -unlike other marshmallow blasters-it comes with an LED sight that projects a safe beam of red light to help locate a target for accuracy.

PUPSTEP PLUS PET STAIRS
These pet stairs make it easier for older dogs and cats, pets with joint problems, or even just tired pets, to get up onto their favorite couch, chair or bed for a well-deserved snooze.

REMOTE CONTROLLED TARANTULA
This remote-controlled tarantula scurries across flat surfaces like an actual arachnid, moving forwards and backwards on command. The spider's thorax and abdomen conceal two motors: one that drives a set of wheels that provide directional movement and one that enables the eight legs to twitch, allowing you to frighten unsuspecting arachnophobes day or night from 25' away. It has a hairy exterior, similar to the urticating hairs that cover a tarantula's abdomen, and its chelicerae suggest two hidden fangs.

EASTER ISLAND MONOLITH STATUE
Astound and impress guests at your next Polynesian luau with our exclusive, heavyweight, six-foot-tall King Moai, inspired by the 380 A.D. Easter Island originals.

This is the time of year when most people will make lists of wants or desired gifts. And while Christmas is a time of sharing and showing loving through giving to others, may we not become so wrapped up in unnecessary items that we fail to include Christ in our Christmas.

In Mark 8, Jesus gives a stark reminder that the things of this world are not important to His eternal plan. While it's nice to have things, God desires that we would value fulfilling His will over gaining material items.

Consider ways you can include Jesus in your holiday celebrations. Reach out to a lost family member, provide a necessity for a family in need, invite a neighbor to church, and spend time telling others of the first Christmas story. Imitate Christ as He cared for others, and focus on caring for others this time of year.

Not everyone will enjoy this season with presents and a holiday feast. Not everyone has joy in their heart at the thought of Christmas morning. Give those who are struggling reason to hope by introducing them to Jesus. Each day this season, ask God to give you ways to include His Son in your holiday and look for others to whom you can spread the Good News of Jesus' gift this year.

To learn more about the ministries of Lancaster Baptist Church and Pastor Chappell, please visit lancasterbaptist.org, paulchappell.com, or follow him on twitter.

Daily Bible Reading
Haggai | Revelations 17