Jim's Jots and Tittles. . .
Lest We Forget
Thanksgiving and Christmas 2015 have now passed in history. It is my guess that most people are thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas 2016 rather than look back at the pleasant experiences of 2015.
As human beings we have a very high incidence of forgetfulness, even when our experiences are pleasant and happy. It seems that after one thing is over, we do not take the time to appreciate the blessings from it. Because of that, we often do not store up memories that should stay with us a lifetime. Even the experience of being baptized into Christ often fades away and we drift back into the world. This seems to be what happened to Demas when he deserted Paul having loved this present world. (2 Timothy 4:10) You see, the remembrance of blessing for the Christian is a two-way street: "not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing." (1 Peter 3:9)
Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to bring out the best in us. We seem to be a little more tolerant of each other's faults, a little more giving, and a little more appreciative of our friends and family. Now it seems that if we could make all the "little bits" part of our thinking, we would be better people even after the festivities are over. Maybe we would greet one another with more "Have a happy day." (Colossians 3:12-13)
Or is the real problem the festivities were really the only thing that counted? God is the real reason a Thanksgiving was ever celebrated or a Christmas Season ever established. But it is so easy to forget about God and concentrate almost totally on the "fun." The consequence of this is that we become more materially oriented rather than more spiritual.
Materialism tends to make us forget why we are here and we gradually begin to push God out of our lives. Since materialism is a product of man's thinking, it will never bring one closer to God. However, if God is the focus of our attention, we will not only worship Him, we will also see the material traditions of this world as a blessing and be drawn closer to Him: "let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds." (Hebrews 10:22-24)
Thanksgiving and Christmas demonstrate love and good deeds in many ways. For the Christian they say much about God and the lives we live in Him. Though they are traditions of man, they help to remind us of a God that blesses generously in this life and has sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. It is as Paul wrote: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
Therefore, Paul tells how a Christian is to live in this world with the traditions of men: "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:1-3)
This is the way a Christian stores up memories of the blessings one has received. A New Testament Christian does not forget! His attention is focused above.