“On the twelfth day of Christmas…”
If you have died with Christ to the world’s way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live? It’s as though you were still under the world’s influence. – Colossians 2:20
If we are at all like the writer of Colossians imagines, still under the influence of the world, then we may well have made the mistake of thinking that it was Christmas most of December and that opening a boatload of presents on the 25th was the grand finale.
The problem with that approach is A) it’s incorrect, and B) it snuffs the spiritual trajectory of the Christmas spirit through the New Year and beyond.
I like the way it is expressed here:
- As Christians we have the opportunity to take our lead from Jesus instead of the world. But we live in a civilization driven to honor commerce, the most demanding of our gods. The instant the last gift is unwrapped, the entire machine runs out of steam and pretty much deflates right there on the living room floor… When a socially leveraged gift-binge becomes the defining moment, and when weeks of buildup lead inescapably to one anticlimactic half hour, then what else could possibly remain but disillusionment and disappointment? (In My Heart I Carry A Star)
It is no coincidence that the Saturday morning men’s group I meet with started a study of James this morning. One of the essential ideas in James is that standing with a foot in both camps leaves us wobbly and ungrounded.
It seems like our desire to have “the best of both worlds” puts us on shaky ground. It reminds me of that time I was getting into a boat but I didn’t commit to either the boat or the land. My indecision quickly pushed the boat away from the mooring and I ended up in the water.
The Twelve Days of Christmas lead up to the celebration of Epiphany. Apart from its Greek definition of “manifestation” or “appearance”, the word has taken on the meaning of “a sudden flash of understanding or insight.”
My sincere prayer is that each one of us has an epiphany today, a sudden flash of understanding that we no longer belong to the world, that we have died with Christ to the world’s way of doing things! So, why do we let others tell us how to live? We are no longer under the world’s influence; we choose to follow Jesus.
Follow Jesus into 2019 and be the kind of Children of God who shed light everywhere we go. Light, and love. What a great image! Rather than being under the influence of the world, maybe we are being called to be the change agents for 2019?
In love, and because of Jesus – Derek
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.