It’s Christmas Eve. All the presents are wrapped. The hustle and bustle is coming to an end. Finally, a chance to sit and open the Bible, and here is where it opened:
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the innocent. For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil; then the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
My first thought was, “well, that’s not a very cheery Christmas message.” And so I read it again. It is hard, at first, to see the Christmas cheer in this verse, which very clearly contains a warning. Watch out for those who create dissension and obstacles in opposition to God’s teaching. Watch out for fair and flattering speech that deceives the hearts of the innocent.
Perhaps this is a perfect message for Christmas, a holiday that is supposed to celebrate our Lord and Savior’s human birth, but has become filled with wrapping paper, scuffles in the mall and “Holiday” celebrations so we do not offend anyone who is not fortunate enough to believe. A holiday in which we spend more time talking about believing in Santa instead of believing in God. I am as guilty as the next in terms of getting “caught up” in the “season”, in the obstacles and fair and flattering speech. We say the words, we sing the songs, but what are we celebrating? And at the end of the day, do we feel the joy that Jesus offers us, or just the headache of in-laws and high credit card bills?
Paul’s words to the Romans, are a good reminder today. And his wish for them, is my wish for all of us this Christmas:
Be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil.
May you have a Merry Christmas, filled with the Joy of knowing Jesus.