Christmas Old & New

IMG_0396We think it’s a snowman.

Maybe it is a hat, or an elf, or Santa. Maybe it is an elf that stood a little to close to the Christmas yule log fire. We understand it is not terribly attractive.

Even though we have only a guess as to what it is, it’s on our Christmas tree because our son made it. He was three, and because he is the artist it will always be on our tree. It brings us back to a time before he was 6’2 and ate everything…everything.

My guess is you have an ornament like this on your tree too, or something that will become much like it. Time has a way of honoring the past. We can never go back to what was, but we are allowed to bring some items from yesterday along with us as time passes by. The bringing of the past into the present is part of what gives Christmas its glow.

A week out from Jesus’ birthday, it is perhaps a good time to think about Jesus in a similar way. So often in the church we talk about the new – there is new life, new hope, new opportunity, and at Christmas even a new baby. All of the new is exciting, but the new only has its sparkle because of the past – its connection to the old.

Jesus – we forget – taught on what God spoke before. It was what God said to the people of Israel centuries before Jesus’ birth that garnered much of his focus.

His parables on vineyards and fences echoed the prophets.
The greatest commandment is found in Leviticus.
His celebration of Passover placed him in a tradition going back to his nation’s dramatic march toward freedom.

Jesus, in many ways and in the best sense, was not new. He was the continuation of what God brought in the past, delivers in the present, and promises in the future. Jesus stands in a tradition and we are wise to let his example guide the practice of our faith.

This season, take some time to remember. Today, I am blessed. I have some time smoking the Christmas barbecue (amen!) that I can use to leisurely remember. It’s time well spent and perfect on all counts because nothing spoils remembering and barbecue like haste.

In these memories of what was, there is a certain comfort. Jesus was, is, and always will be. The ways in which we practice our faith will vary over time, but the message will always remain. God loves this world and us in it and that love has been, is, and will always be.

 

(thanks for reading this, if you found Jesus in this please comment and share)

 

PS – here is an ornament our daughter made, you know how equal times goes.IMG_0398

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