Christmas is just two days away. Are we ready?
I believe I am. The Christmas tree has been up for 4 weeks, the house is nicely decorated. The snowman scene has been smiling at us for so long now that it’s becoming covered with dust, and the buffalo snow around our little ceramic Christmas town that was set out when there was still green grass visible has gone from looking displaced to looking like we just brought it in from outside. The gifts have been purchased and wrapped, and Christmas dinner has been planned, the ingredients bought, and the guest list has been carefully distributed.
Yes, I believe I’m ready for Christmas.
Or so I thought until I read the following text: “To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure …” (Titus 1:15a)
“But,” you say, “That text has NOTHING to do with Christmas!”
Yes, that’s what I said, too. In fact, I had been praying about a particularly sticky situation at work when God gave me this text, and had I stopped with just this piece of verse 15, I would have been convinced that God was telling me that I was in the right, while the other person was in the wrong. In fact, I was beginning to feel rather pleased with myself for having handled this situation with this VERY WRONG person in the correct manner!
But before I could close my Bible, God spoke to me: “Read the rest of the chapter!”
So my eyes strayed off of this nice, encouraging verse and drifted down the page: “but to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted. They profess to know God [to recognize, perceive, and be acquainted with Him], but deny and disown and renounce Him by what they do; they are detestable and loathsome, unbelieving and disobedient and disloyal and rebellious, and [they are] unfit and worthless for good work (deed or enterprise) of any kind.” (Titus 1:15-16 AMP)
In my pious manner, I smiled. Surely God was telling me about the other person at work, and He wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know!
Yes, sorry to admit it, but this was exactly the way my mind was running, and when God spoke to me and said, “THIS is the Christmas message you’ve been praying about!”, I didn’t believe Him! After all, there was NOTHING about Christmas in this text! God must be joking!
Now God DOES have a sense of humour, but a strong feeling of rebuke came over me. God wasn’t joking. Not at all. And I immediately repented of having thought such a thing.
But what WAS He trying to tell me?
I reread the verses then, more carefully this time, and that’s when the full meaning flowed. The text truly was speaking about whether or not we are prepared for Christmas. No, it wasn’t speaking about the number of presents under the tree or the condition of the Christmas dinner preparations. It was speaking about the condition of our hearts!
For years I’ve been bothered by the commercialism that surrounds Christmas, especially here in North America. And I have been very careful to try and “decommercialize” Christmas in my home. Or at least, that’s been my attempt. But have I been being careful to “decommercialize” my heart? Have I allowed myself to become pious? To become judgmental about how the rest of the world celebrated the birth of the Christ child? Was my heart where it should be to celebrate the greatest, most unselfish birth in history? Was my heart ready to remember how Jesus left His comfortable home in heaven with His father to be born to a peasant woman in a stable, so that He could provide MY salvation? Was my heart ready to embrace that precious gift?
Whoa! That was food for thought! You see, God was telling me that the way to be ready for the celebration of the birth of His precious Son was to be pure, because only when my heart is pure can the celebration of Christmas reach its maximum potential! “To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure …” (Titus 1:15a)
But as long as I’m feeling prideful and judgmental, I come much closer to fitting the second half of the text: “…but to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted.” (Titus 1:15b)
Friends, I repeat my initial question: Are we ready for Christmas? Are our hearts pure, undefiled, unpolluted? Are our hearts filled with unselfish, Godly love? If so, it will be a glorious Christmas, full of blessing to each of us and everyone around us. But if it is not, then we are no better off than the poor folks described in Titus 1:16. We “deny and disown and renounce Him” (Titus 1:16a) by what we do. We truly are: “…detestable and loathsome, unbelieving and disobedient and disloyal and rebellious, and … unfit and worthless for good work (deed or enterprise) of any kind.” (Titus 1:15-16 AMP)
Christmas isn’t here yet, folks. There is still time to purify our hearts for this glorious celebration. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to spend some time doing just that!
Lyn Chaffart , Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org