Saturday, December 7, 2013

Day 3: Luke 2:3

 And everyone went to their own town to register. -Luke 2:3

Christmas time has a funny way of dragging our past out of its shadows and into the forefront of our mind.  Some times this is a good thing and sometimes it can be a trial.

For Joseph, during the census, he had to return to the town of his birth.  In some ways, this may have been great.  He may have seen old friends or family members.  He may have been able to take his soon-to-be wife to places where he used to hang out or show her things that he has told her stories about.

But we know in at least one way that having to return to the place of his birth was a difficult thing.  He had moved away from the town of his childhood and established a new life in Nazareth.  He had a woman that was about to become his wife and had a home and a carpentry business established there.  Now he had to travel back to his hometown and his new life was not fitting together well with his old life.  He was soon to find out that he no longer had a home there.

As we grow as Christians, there are defining times for us that remind us that we no longer have a home in our past.  Someone who came to Christianity in adulthood may go back to their childhood home and see how Jesus has changed the kinds of relationships they have and how the relationships of their past don't really fit into the new model Christ has built in them.  Some who have grown up in the church their whole lives, may have grown up with a very legalistic view of Christianity or came from a church that put more emphasis on outward appearance than on the condition of your heart.  As that person has grown in Christ and has come to understand the true meaning of grace, going back to that old ideology, even if just for a few days during the holidays, can seemingly become uncomfortable or even blasphemous.  Or we may have put a past full of sin or a past that embarrasses us far behind us, only to have that past smack us in the face as soon as we return to "our own town".

Try not to let the conflict between the you of the past and the you that you are now bring you down this holiday season.  We are told repeatedly in scripture that what matters most is the new creation that Christ begins in us.  We should be looking at the present and looking forward, not focusing on the past.  And we should make a mental note to ourselves to deal with our issues in our past throughout the whole year so that we aren't suddenly bombarded with them at the holidays.  Our past effects us both positively and negatively and whether it is in the forefront of our mind or not.

Deal with your ghosts of Christmas pasts, and your Christmas present and Christmas future will thank you for it!

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