My downside with Christmas is that I can’t get pleasure from it as a result of I’m not working.
It’s not that I don’t like celebrations or items or household. I really like all these issues. And it’s not that I don’t wish to meditate on the wonder and reward of the incarnation. I do! I simply have a tough time having fun with these issues after I’m on trip, after I’m imagined to be resting.
If each good reward comes from God, and it does, then nothing good in your life is essentially one thing youdeserveon your personal deserves.When I’m working 10-12 hour days through the semester, grading and prepping and instructing and assembly with college students, it’s not laborious for me to get pleasure from celebrations or time with my household. I’m exhausted and pressured on a regular basis, however I actually get pleasure from life. It’s after I get off the treadmill that I lose the sensation. If we moved Christmas to someday in the course of September, I believe I may get within the spirit a lot simpler.
Why ought to relaxation make me really feel responsible and anxious? For a similar motive that the verse, “Be still, and know that I am God,” at all times bothers me. I can labor and know that He’s God, however don’t make me be nonetheless. That’s an excessive amount of. He might be God, however let me endure slightly bit. And in the identical manner, we will open items on Christmas morning, however let me be exhausted from working all night time to supply for these items.
Right here’s the factor. Salvation isn’t the one reward that we will arrogantly and foolishly attempt to earn by our personal deserves. Each good factor on this life comes from God. Each single second of actual magnificence, each nice meal, each cute factor a child does, each nicely made novel or tune: all of it comes from God as a present. None of it’s as miraculous or cosmically redemptive because the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. Nevertheless it’s no much less actual,and it’s no much less of a sin for us to take these different items with no consideration.
Reformed church buildings do an excellent job of reminding us that the reward of salvation shouldn’t be one thing we will earn. It’s a reward. God in His sovereignty gave Himself for our sins and imputed His righteousness to us. And that reward shouldn’t be one thing that may be earned. It hasto be given. So we’re taught to watch out to not fall right into a works-based faith. We’re warned concerning the risks of the “older brother” within the story of the Prodigal Son, who thought he deserved his father’s love as a result of he obeyed him. All of that is good and necessary and true. However you may consider and reside like salvation is a free reward from God and nonetheless assume that each different actually good factor in your life is yours since you earned it.
You might have a stunning partner since you made your self fascinating. You might have an excellent job since you hustled and networked for many years. You might have a university diploma since you studied and utilized for scholarships and labored summer season jobs. Your youngsters love you as a result of you’re a good dad or mum. Your partner respects you since you sacrifice a lot. You get pleasure from good intercourse since you are so trustworthy and thoughtful.
If each good reward comes from God, and it does, then nothing good in your life is essentially one thing youdeserveby yourself deserves. You possibly can’t be a adequate dad or mum to earn your youngster’s love. You possibly can’t sacrifice sufficient to earn your partner’s approval and respect. There’s at all times a surplus. That’s the nature of goodness. It’s irreducible to our labor and efforts. All you are able to do is get pleasure from it and be grateful.
And that’s why I don’t get pleasure from Christmas. I can benefit from life after I really feel like I’mincomesmy pleasures, after I’m struggling and sacrificing for them. In different phrases, I’ve no downside delighting in God’s blessings so long as I can fake that they’re really my rewards. However as quickly as you’re taking away my toil, I recoil. It doesn’t really feel proper. I develop uncomfortable at compliments and items and reward. I’m anxious to get again to the security and management of my very own work.
During Christmas we reenact the reward of the Christ-child by sharing items. We stop our labor (as we should always weekly) and delight within the individuals and time and good issues God has blessed us with. For a few of us, that is tough due to our pleasure and vanity, as a result of we’d relatively make consider that each good reward is our reward. And in case you fall into this damnable lie, you could end up by no means capable of get off the treadmill, by no means capable of be grateful, by no means capable of settle for a present or a praise. Perhaps you gained’t be attempting to work your strategy to Heaven, however you may nonetheless attempt to work your strategy to Earth. And the blessings on this life are not any much less works of grace than these within the subsequent life.
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you could be study to Be nonetheless, and know that He’s God. Enjoyment of relaxation. You deserve this blessing as a result of our prodigal God gave it to you, as a result of He loves you, and since it happy Him. And that’s the perfect motive to please in one thing you’ll ever have.