It's that time of year again; time to give thanks for all that we've been given in the past year ( yeah, it's almost over ) & time to look forward with joy to what we'll find under the Christmas Tree ( or parked in the garage, tied up to the dock, etc. )! As one of our local radio stations has been airing recently, 'it's the return of 'A Season for Giving'! ( Don't get me wrong; what with the colder weather ( higher heating bills, need for warmer clothes, etc. ) & the already weak economy and such, 'A Season for Giving' is a great idea! )
It is good always to give thanks! Not only is this a biblical concept, it is a very good idea as well to always persevere with an attitude of gratitude! In today's society at large, it is often very difficult to keep such an attitude, but studies have shown that if this sort of demeanor is ever-present, things seem to go a lot smoother! The introduction of 'A Season for Giving', therefore, though a great idea for our times, is only a temporary fix for what is merely a symptom of one of society's greatest dilemmas!
As Christians ( and even many non-Christians ) in the midst of a largely un-Godly society, we often despair of ever fixing this society; our best hope is for God to reveal His wrath from Heaven, cleanse this world of unrighteousness & usher in a utopian society, one free of any vestiges of sin, or evil! The thing that many Christians have neglected to take into account though, is that our Heavenly Father already accomplished the redemption of His People; it's all there, in black & white for anyone to see, provided they have eyes to see & ears to hear what the Spirit is saying! ( okay, so the 'utopian society' might be a stretch )! Sin & Death were defeated at the cross & finally & forever destroyed with the cessation of the Ministry of Death! We tend to gloss over the fact that the Virgin Mary wasn't a Roman Catholic, John wasn't a Baptist & Jesus Himself wasn't a Christian!
The Story that is revealed in Scripture, though it has relevance for us, is not about us; it's about a bunch of Hebrews ( Jews ) in the Ancient Near East! We, as the Body of Christ today, benefit from the Accomplished Redemption of that Jewish Society, they having been reconciled to their God & Father! Having been redeemed & reconciled to that same God & Father, we, as the Body of Christ, have been given the task of tending His Garden! In His Strength, we are to go forth, redeeming & reconciling His creation ( society ) to Him!
We are 'a redemptive society', but how well do we, as the Body of Christ, understand this; how well do we live it? Are we here to wait for the Son of God to return, when He is already here? Must we wait for 'A Season for Giving' before we realize the needs of those less fortunate? Why else are we here, but to forgive those who wrong us, and not returning evil for evil, to effect a positive change in this world in which we live?
As we work & play in the midst of this holiday season, let us remember that this is not the only season for giving, or for remembering the poor & needy among us! We, as the Body of Christ, should always be ready to redeem the time we have been given & to spread the Gospel of Reconciliation through a life of forgiveness! May we ever follow Christ in this & and may the blessing of our Heavenly Father be upon us, as we endeavor for His Glory & our good!
Charles Haddon Shank