Links Daily Devotional

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The Trick with Christmas

But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. (1 Corinthians 10:28, NIV)

I don’t know how you feel about Christmas. Jesus’ people seem to opine as strongly about the day as they do about belly putters.

Those who gladly celebrate Christmas get plenty upset with those retailers who “dismiss Christ” by wishing us Season’s Greetings and selling holiday trees. It’s a robust defense of the Christ-centered beginnings of the special day.

But there are other Christians who think this holiday should not be celebrated at all. The modern commercialization of Christmas is reason enough, they say. But then there are also the “pagan origins” of such winter celebrations and the symbols that come with them.

Oh, what are we to do?

Perhaps you’ve heard similar arguments about your regular purchasing choices. Some Christian brother will tell you that you should not shop at a certain store because they give a portion of their proceeds to a godless cause. Or a Christian sister will “kindly explain” that drums do not belong in “God’s music.”

Don’t think the apostles didn’t deal with these kinds of arguments. Paul wrote in at least four different letters about “foolish controversies” that detract believers from the first order of their relationships with one another: love.

Paul was no legalist, that’s for sure! He emphasized the freedom that Jesus’ followers have to celebrate—or not celebrate—traditional festivals, and to eat—or not eat—meat offered to idols. Those who recognized this freedom were to exercise it, unless… And the unless is big. We are never to exercise our freedoms with insensitive disregard to the consciences of others. If your friend is unwilling to eat at a particular local establishment, then don’t press her to do so. If your family stands against Christmas on religious conscience, then shush the stories of your own time around the tree. Have no interest in stirring up discord on subjects that don’t matter.

Jeff Hopper

December 21, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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