Don’t feel bad if you feel this way too, you’re not alone

A W Tozer on Christmas:

“So completely are we carried away by the excitement of this midwinter festival that we are apt to forget that its romantic appeal is the least significant thing about it. The theology of Christmas too easily gets lost under the gay wrappings, yet apart from the theological meaning it really has none at all. A half dozen doctrinally sound carols serve to keep alive the great deep truth of the Incarnation, but aside from these, popular Christmas music is void of any real lasting truth. The English mouse that was not even stirring, the German Tannenbaum so fair and lovely and the American red-nosed reindeer that has nothing to recommend it have pretty well taken over in Christmas poetry and song. These along with merry old St. Nicholas have about displaced Christian theology.… It does seem strange that so many persons become excited about Christmas and so few stop to inquire into its meaning; but I suppose this odd phenomenon is quite in harmony with our unfortunate human habit of magnifying trivialities and ignoring matters of greatest import.… The Christmas message, when stripped of its pagan overtones, is relatively simple: God is come to earth in the form of man. John 1:14; Galatians 4:4–5; 1 Timothy 3:16

In these latter-years of the twentieth century no other season of the year reveals so much religion and so little godliness as the Christmas season.… How far have we come in the corruption of our tastes from the reverence of the simple shepherds, the chant of the angels and the beauty of the heavenly host! The Star of Bethlehem could not lead a wise man to Christ today; it could not be distinguished amid the millions of artificial lights hung aloft on Main Street by the Merchants Association. No angels could sing loudly enough to make themselves heard above the raucous, earsplitting rendition of “Silent Night” meant to draw customers to the neighborhood stores. In our mad materialism we have turned beauty into ashes, prostituted every normal emotion and made merchandise of the holiest gift the world ever knew.

Christ came to bring peace and we celebrate His coming by making peace impossible for six weeks of each year. Not peace but tension, fatigue and irritation rule the Christmas season. He came to free us of debt and many respond by going deep into debt each year to buy enervating luxuries for people who do not appreciate them. He came to help the poor and we heap gifts upon those who do not need them. The simple token given out of love has been displaced by expensive presents given because we have been caught in a squeeze and don’t know how to back out of it. Not the beauty of the Lord our God is found in such a situation, but the ugliness and deformity of human sin. Matthew 2:1–11; Luke 2:8–20; Luke 4:18–19”
— A.W Tozer “The Warfare of the Spirit”

For more thoughts about the practice of celebrating “Christmas” see:
http://www.scripturesongs.net/misc/THE-PRACTICE-OF-CELEBRATING-CHRISTMAS.pdf

Acceptable

“Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God doesn’t show favoritism; but in every nation He who fears Him and works righteousness is acceptable to Him. The word which He sent to the children of Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all — that spoken word you yourselves know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
—Acts 10:34-38

Matthew Henry on…Galatians 4:8-11

“In these verses the apostle puts them in mind of what they were before their conversion to the faith of Christ, and what a blessed change their conversion had made upon them; and thence endeavours to convince them of their great weakness in hearkening to those who would bring them under the bondage of the law of Moses.”

“I. He reminds them of their past state and behaviour, and what they were before the gospel was preached to them. Then they knew not God; they were grossly ignorant of the true God, and the way wherein he is to be worshipped: and at that time they were under the worst of slaveries, for they did service to those which by nature were no gods, they were employed in a great number of superstitious and idolatrous services to those who, though they were accounted gods, were yet really no gods, but mere creatures, and perhaps of their own making, and therefore were utterly unable to hear and help them. Note, 1. Those who are ignorant of the true God cannot but be inclined to false gods. Those who forsook the God who made the world, rather than be without gods, worshipped such as they themselves made. 2. Religious worship is due to none but to him who is by nature God; for, when the apostle blames the doing service to such as by nature were no gods, he plainly shows that he only who is by nature God is the proper object of our religious worship.”

“II. He calls upon them to consider the happy change that was made in them by the preaching of the gospel among them. Now they had known God (they were brought to the knowledge of the true God and of his Son Jesus Christ, whereby they were recovered out of the ignorance and bondage under which they before lay) or rather were known of God; this happy change in their state, whereby they were turned from idols to the living God, and through Christ had received the adoption of sons, was not owing to themselves, but to him; it was the effect of his free and rich grace towards them, and as such they ought to account it; and therefore hereby they were laid under the greater obligation to adhere to the liberty wherewith he had made them free. Note, All our acquaintance with God begins with him; we know him, because we are known of him.”

“III. Hence he infers the unreasonableness and madness of their suffering themselves to be brought again into a state of bondage. He speaks of it with surprise and deep concern of mind that such as they should do so: How turn you again, etc., says he, Gal 4:9. “How is it that you, who have been taught to worship God in the gospel way, should not be persuaded to comply with the ceremonial way of worship? that you, who have been acquainted with a dispensation of light, liberty, and love, as that of the gospel is, should now submit to a dispensation of darkness, and bondage, and terror, as that of the law is?” This they had the less reason for, since they had never been under the law of Moses, as the Jews had been; and therefore on this account they were more inexcusable than the Jews themselves, who might be supposed to have some fondness for that which had been of such long standing among them. Besides, what they suffered themselves to be brought into bondage to were but weak and beggarly elements, such things as had no power in them to cleanse the soul, nor to afford any solid satisfaction to the mind, and which were only designed for that state of pupillage under which the church had been, but which had now come to a period; and therefore their weakness and folly were the more aggravated, in submitting to them, and in symbolizing with the Jews in observing their various festivals, here signified by days, and months, and times, and years. Here note, 1. It is possible for those who have made great professions of religion to be afterwards drawn into very great defections from the purity and simplicity of it, for this was the case of these Christians. And, 2. The more mercy God has shown to any, in bringing them into an acquaintance with the gospel, and the liberties and privileges of it, the greater are their sin and folly in suffering themselves to be deprived of them; for this the apostle lays a special stress upon, that after they had known God, or rather were known of him, they desired to be in bondage under the weak and beggarly elements of the law.”

“IV. Hereupon he expresses his fears concerning them, lest he had bestowed on them labour in vain. He had been at a great deal of pains about them, in preaching the gospel to them, and endeavouring to confirm them in the faith and liberty of it; but now they were giving up these, and thereby rendering his labour among them fruitless and ineffectual, and with the thoughts of this he could not but be deeply affected. Note, 1. A great deal of the labour of faithful ministers is labour in vain; and, when it is so, it cannot but be a great grief to those who desire the salvation of souls. Note, 2. The labour of ministers is in vain upon those who begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh, who, though they seem to set out well, yet afterwards turn aside from the way of the gospel. Note, 3. Those will have a great deal to answer for upon whom the faithful ministers of Jesus Christ bestow labour in vain.”

Galatians 4.4-11

4    But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, having come into being out of a woman, having come under Law,
5    that He might redeem the ones under Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6    And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba! Father!
7    So that you no more are a slave, but a son, and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.
8    But then, indeed, not knowing God, you served as slaves to the ones by nature not being gods.
9    But now, knowing God, but rather being known by God, how do you turn again to the weak and poor elements to which you desire again to slave anew?
10    You observe days and months and seasons and years.
11    I fear for you, lest somehow I have labored among you in vain.

A Sabbath rest for the people of God

“Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps a promise being left of entering into his rest, anyone of you should seem to have come short of it.”
–Hebrews 4:1

“For we who have believed do enter into that rest…”
—Hebrews 4:3

“There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.”
–Hebrews 4:9-11

The reality of the “Sabbath rest” (Heb. 4.9) is that Jesus has already done all the work that could possibly be done and it is finished. Jesus has done the work of suffering on the cross and bearing the sins of the world. God has done the work of raising Jesus from the dead, and raising those who believe in Him to brand new life with Him. There is no more work to be done toward righteousness and salvation. The precious reality is that: Anointed Jesus Himself is our righteousness and peace. He Himself is our Life. He Himself has done the work that no one else could do… past, present or future. To continue “working” — to not “enter into that rest” (Heb. 4.11) — is to devalue and trample on the Son of God Who became the Lamb of God and fulfilled the requirements of the law. It is finished (John 19:30). Love has triumphed, by grace and mercy, over works of the law. Jesus Anointed Himself is our new Life and new Reality, our Treasure of treasures. He is so highly exalted, and His Work is so far reaching and unattainable by mere mortal men, that it is said that He has “passed through the heavens.” How marvelous, how wonderful! No words can describe this joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Thank You Father God in Jesus’ Name!

“Having then a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold tightly to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.”
—Hebrews 4:14-16

“For Christ is the fulfillment {or, completion, or end} of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
—Romans 10:4

“For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
—Galatians 5:13,14

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished.” He bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.”
—John 19:30

“Let no man therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, or with respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day, which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s.”
—Colossians 2:16,17

Loving people are blessed people

“Loving people are blessed people. For, 1. They are blessed of God, and therefore blessed indeed: There, where brethren dwell together in unity, the Lord commands the blessing, a complicated blessing, including all blessings. It is God’s prerogative to command the blessing, man can but beg a blessing. Blessings according to the promise are commanded blessings, for he has commanded his covenant for ever. Blessings that take effect are commanded blessings, for he speaks and it is done. 2. They are everlastingly blessed. The blessing which God commands on those that dwell in love is life for evermore; that is the blessing of blessings. Those that dwell in love not only dwell in God, but do already dwell in heaven. As the perfection of love is the blessedness of heaven, so the sincerity of love is the earnest of that blessedness. Those that live in love and peace shall have the God of love and peace with them now, and they shall be with him shortly, with him for ever, in the world of endless love and peace. How good then is it, and how pleasant.”
— Matthew Henry on Psalm 133