Christmas Again

I wrote a piece on Christmas this week. Yes, I am hearing Christmas music in stores already.

As I am reflecting this morning, I am thinking:

"Everyone who hears these words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.....but everyone who hears these words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand..."

Good words from Our Lord. The piece had to do with not stressing out or getting caught up in "American Christmas." You probably know what I mean without more details.

Now I need to put those words into practice if I want to be wise. It is so easy to write it, think it, talk it. Living it is harder, much harder. Pick any spiritual truth: Love your neighbor, pray, give, have mercy, serve. All of those are easy to write about. It is the doing of them that is hard.

It is even easier to say, "Jesus, has to empower me. The Spirit has to move me so I can do." I think that is true, but I do not want to use it as an escape clause. "Well, if He really wanted me to take the commercialism out of Christmas He would have overwhelmed me to that end..." That sounds nonsensical. He gave me a free will and ability to choose. I may be weak, but I am not powerless because He is in me. I need to pick up what I have been given and fight the good fight. Work out my salvation with the best motives I can imagine.

I don't know where, or on what side, you struggle. Working too much or, depending on Him to "do it." I tend to think we as a Christian culture depend on Him, at least subconsciously to "do it or it won't be done." Bonhoeffer might call that cheap grace.

So today I am thinking about how I can consciously strive to put into practice what I know to be true, knowing it is Him who wills within me and yet me choosing to press on, while resting in Him.

Maybe that is part of the answer. And maybe it is helpful to write about the practice of applying the tension of the "and" to my heart.