FROM THE PULPIT: Hype, hyperbole, and Jesus

Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 10:20 AM.

It comes around every year, although when it actually starts may vary. Does it really make a difference? Some say, "Absolutely!" Others say, "It’s just really annoying!"

I’m referring to the ubiquitous advertising blitz for getting you to spend your hard earned money on Christmas gifts. Oops, excuse me… "holiday gifts" in order to be politically correct.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday — each offer great deals to get us to spend. The pressure is on. As of right now, there are only a few shopping days left. Are you in a panic? (I’m trying to not be, myself.)

While doing some shopping recently, I saw a large mug. There was a message printed on the mug which, when I first read it, U thought was a bit trite. But then the full meaning of it dawned on me. The mug said, "Next year I’m going to think about what Christmas means to God."

What does Christmas mean to God? Here is something to ponder: Christmas, for God, demonstrates that at a particular time and place, God came to be with us himself. When Quirinius was governor of Syria, in a town called Bethlehem, a child was born. That child was God himself. The one who inhabits eternity came to dwell in time. The one whom people learned to fear came to demonstrate great love and forgiveness. The God of all mercies came so that we could experience his divine mercy and receive life.

Let me encourage you to ask yourself a question, "When Christmas this year has come and gone, what difference will your hectic pace have made? Was all the anxiety, rushing around, exhaustion worth it?"

Then ask yourself: "Is this what God intended when he came to this earth in the baby Jesus?"

The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.

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