“It’s THAT time of year. Again!” A neighbor.
Yes, it is. Being on the southern most end of Africa, it is high summer. Many visitors, local and foreign tourists and crowded beaches and hotels. Along with the dramatic rise in crime and road rage, alcohol fuels conflict, anger and frustration. Wild parties, dancing and night clubs will overflow. The world calls it, “Happy New Year!” as if there is a special joy at seeing a calendar date click over.
Thinking about it, what is the magic centered around an imaginary number? No one is fascinated with the seconds ticking down to midnight on any other day of the year! What, April 18th gradually inching to 12 a.m. into the 19th is also miraculous and enthralling? And once the clock flicks over to 2016, is there now a different ambience which will calm people and bring added comfort and happiness?
My neighbor is obviously fed up with the raucous celebrations of a younger couple and their loud parties a few houses away. He doesn’t mind celebrations but the end of the year ones, he has had to live with for a few years now. Being a Christian man, he is more focused on the reality of Christ than the temporary delusions of the world.
Which we should all do, too!
Sometimes, Christmas carols annoy me. Particularly when they’re sung ultra quick, jazzed up, mumbled or sung like a dirge. Nowadays, they are set to preppy type music, piped into department stores or overlaid with syrupy background tunes that are simply disgusting. Of course, it is commercialized, repackaged and now sanitized so it doesn’t annoy anyone. Is that what songs of joy has become. (Incidentally, one of my favorite pet hates is singing ‘Joy to the World’ as a carol. It was written and composed as a hymn to be sung any time during the year.)
The latest butchered greeting is ‘Happy Holidays’ so there is no offense to anyone. Personally, I don’t mind greeting people with ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Christ is Risen’. There is no insult or hidden message in this — I am merely expressing my joy at a special time of the year. Sure, we can get into the fact that Jesus wasn’t born in December or that Mary didn’t ride a donkey to Bethlehem. This is the one time of year when the world’s attention, rightly or wrongly, is focused upon our Lord.
As a Christian, as believer and a child of God, I just want to express how I feel. I want them to know where I stand and why I have hope. I want Christ to be the focus, not presents, Santa Claus, snowflakes, reindeer or angels. After all, isn’t it my responsibility to present Jesus as He is?
I wish each and everyone of you a merry, joyful, happy Christmas and God’s blessings for the New Year.
The container was loaded in Quincy (MI) last month by a team from several different churches in the area — Coldwater (MI), Battle Creek (MI), Stroh (IN) and Lake Area (IN), all under the supervision of Bob Snyder. It contains 980 boxes and packs, almost 3500 Bibles and New Testaments of different translations (English and French), Halley’s Handbooks, Sunday School and VBS materials and reference books (dictionaries and encyclopedias). The team loaded the container quickly and efficiently.
It is currently in Norfolk (VA) awaiting transshipment to Rotterdam (Holland) and then to Cape Town. Read More