If Jesus is the “reason for the season,” why do I invest so much time, energy & effort in:
-picking out and trimming a tree?
-stringing lights, garland & bows all over the yard?
-going to 3 different malls to buy the perfect gifts for family & friends?
-attending every holiday party I’m invited to?
-listening to Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” on Pandora all day?
-cooking & baking an absorbent amount of food & desserts for family reunions?
-going to see the same Christmas lights every year?
-decorating every inch of the house with holiday decor?
-watching the same holiday movies over and over and over?
-buying new clothes and taking 400 pictures of the family to send a photo card to people we never see?
Matthew 15:1-9 Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, 2 “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 6 In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents.[c] And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’
“The Pharisees and teachers of religious law came from Jerusalem, the center of Jewish authority, to scrutinize Jesus’ activities. Over the centuries since the Jews’ return from Babylonian captivity, hundreds of religious traditions had been added to God’s laws. The Pharisees and teachers of religious law considered them all equally important. Many traditions are not bad in themselves. Certain religious traditions can add richness and meaning to life. But, we must not assume that because our traditions have been practiced for years, they should be elevated to a sacred standing. God’s principles never change, and his law doesn’t need additions. Traditions should help us understand God’s laws better, not become laws themselves.” – Life Application Study Bible
Thank you for sending your Son into the world to be born of a virgin, suffer, be crucified, buried and raised to life so that I may know you. Help me to remember that He IS the reason for this season- and every season of my life. May I honor you with my lips- and my heart. May my worship be genuine and my life reflect your commands, not man’s traditions.