What Christmas Means to Me–Surrender (and I don’t mean the song by Cheap Trick)

 It’s time to shut down the sarcasm, the satire, the political democrat hate speech and reflect on the time of year we find ourselves in.  This post will not be like any other–I hope you will read it anyway.  First I want to thank everyone who has visited this site in the 3 months it has been up.  It has been steadily growing and I am loving it.  First and foremost I want to thank Laurie Kendrick who has been helpful, generous of her ideas and her pictures, supportive and has cheerleaded my efforts.  Laurie-Thank you for being such a friend, having never actually met me–it has meant more than you know.  You know us guys–we need encouragement and support.  Second, thanks to the regular readers who have commented and participated and inspired me to go forward–CrushLiberalism, Kristiane, Nigel and others.  Finally, thanks to PistolPete–whose site inspired the rest of this post.  Pistol–your site has inspired me each time I read it and I’ve loved getting to know you a little this year.  

Now, I’ll put away the forced saracasm and satire and just be me for a few lines while I explain what I believe the real meaning of Christmas is all about.  (if your a hater-stop reading).

 

Clearly Christmas marks the birth of Jesus–simple.  That is the reason the holiday exists–but that is not why I believe it is celebrated.  It is more than simply a birthday for our Saviour–because the question is not “Who is Jesus?” or “When Did He live?”–the question is “What does it have to do with me?”  We spend numerous days throughout the year celebrating birthdays–our own, our family, kids, friends, neighbors, neighborhood kids, cousins, co-workers, etc…  Why do we celebrate those days–for ourself because we need an excuse sometimes to have a get together with friends and family or to chug a really good margarita.  For our family–well, it is our duty.  For our friends–duty and excuse to get together.  Co-workers–because we work with them.  But why celebrate the birthday of a man who lived 2000 years ago that you have never met face to face?  Hmmmmm….starts to make you ask–“What does this have to do with me?” 

 Maybe, like some birthdays, it is simply an excuse to get together with family and friends and have some egg nog, divinity (blech!) and sugar cookies.  Maybe as a child it was one of the only really happy times you remember so you celebrate those moments from your past.  Maybe because Jesus has real significance in your life.  Maybe because it reminds you of the one thing you did or still need to do to really, truly live….Surrender.

Surrender is a word that we hate in our society because it means giving up control, losing your grip on something, not being in charge of your own “destiny.”  Surrender means you lost the war, you waved the white flag, you gave up, you quit, you are a loser.  I’m not talking about that kind of surrender.

Walk with me for a moment–why did Jesus come?  God’s people blew it when there were no laws, no commandments and no rules and so he sent the flood and wiped them out–all except for one family that “walked with God”–Noah.  Then the next generation of Earth-bound humans worshipped idols and lived lives of evil and so God sent his law to Moses.  Time passed and humans took those laws and created a set of rules and regulations around them and used those rules to gain power over the masses.  The political rulers were also the religious rulers and they “used” the Word of God to wield power in an evil way.  Once again the world was headed to ruin–away from the very Being that had created them and everything they knew.  God knew that we were and are all imperfect people and since He is perfect He could not look upon imperfection.  The reality is that no matter how hard any of us try, we can never be perfect, and therefore never be back in union with God.  So–it would appear—that humans were doomed again…

God, however, loved us so much, in spite of the fact that we were completely sinful and selfish and unable see the need for a Creator, that instead of wiping us out again he came down on Earth and dwelt with us (Emmanuel-means “God with us”)–not to enforce the rules but to build a bridge between us and Him.  Jesus is the bridge–but unlike a bridge you can walk on, He grabs us and brings us to the other side–but not without us asking Him too first.  He stands ready to take us across–but first we have to believe He will actually take us.  You see, Jesus came to save us from ourselves and from eternal separation from our Creator.  Since we couldn’t do it ourselves, Jesus came and paid the ultimate penalty in place of all of us so that we could be with God.  But there is one simple step we have to take first….Surrender.

The way to God is not through the 10 commandments.  The way is not memorizing a set of rules and regulations and perfecting your ability to follow them–if you try that—you will fail—every single day–I do.

The way to God is not through some self-imagined mediation technique or psychadelic drug or out of body experience–if you could reach him that easily we would have little need for Him at all.

We have to Surrender.   The moment Jesus died the Bible says that the veil was torn–that veil was the covering that separated man from God–it was the set of rules and regulations that kept man from God because now the way to God is simply through surrendering.

Jesus came on Christmas so that we could turn from our lives of selfishness and self-interest and evil doing and simply surrender our lives to Him.  Jesus said that for a man to gain life he must lose it–wha???  Simply put–if you want to experience true Joy this Christmas and every one following–the kind of Joy that allows you to smile when your extended family is driving you to the point of creating your own special family jihad and blowing eveyone away; the kind of Joy that lets you smile when your gifts stink but your siblings get IPods and cars; the kind of Joy that lets you not get mad that your parents have guilt-tripped you into having Christmas at their house—again.  If you want that kind of Joy–simply surrender to Him because here is the bonus–He wants to give you the best possible life He can.  It doesn’t mean you will always be happy, it doesn’t mean you will always have money and stuff and be healthy–but through all the World throws at you–you can experience Joy simply in knowing Him. 

Surrender,” therefore, is a gift.  Why wouldn’t we want the Creator to run our lives instead of us?  What works better–for the potter to control the shape and form of the clay or for the clay to spin by itself and attempt to shape its own form?  We all know that when the potter’s hands come off the clay the clay spins apart and flings against the wall–ever feel like that?  The reason surrender is a gift is because God loves us so much that his desire for us is to experience Joy–so He, in His perfect plan for our lives will guide us through this broken world if we will just simply surrender the plan to Him. 

The real gift at Christmas is that God made a way for us to take the burden of living with ourselves and our horrible inadequacies off our own back and place that burden in the manager instead.  That little baby gladly takes that burden from you and replaces it with Joy, Contentment, Love and Peace.  In exchange for those gifts He only asks that you Love Him and desire to know Him.  All the yuck in your life will take care of itself once you surrender yourself to Him.  We didn’t earn His Love nor do we deserve it–yet He gives it to us anyway.  It isn’t easy–you have to surrender daily because you are after all human–and your real desire is to take back the reins and control your own path.  Believe me–sometimes you have to surrender many times a day.

This Christmas let me make one suggestion—surrender all of your plans, hopes, and especially your expectations for this Holiday Season to the One that we are celebrating.  Let Him give you peace and rest and relaxation this year–things with your family and friends may not go as you hope or expect so surrender those things to Him and experience the joy of a God who loves us so much He would rather die on a cross than see us perish.

At Christmas in particular, we could all use some Love and Peace and sometimes to get Peace-you have to Surrender.  If you never have–read the book of John–read it like you would read any other book and see the life that our God lived on Earth–it is truly amazing, then ask yourself–“Why am I trying to live in this broken world all by myself?”  The answer is–because you haven’t seen the Joy that truly exists in surrendering.  This Christmas–seek out that Joy–I promise it is there.

God Bless you all-Have a Wonderful Merry Christmas!

-Murphy

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12 Comments on “What Christmas Means to Me–Surrender (and I don’t mean the song by Cheap Trick)”

  1. pistolpete Says:

    Wonderful expressed. I count it an honor to be your virtual friend.

  2. mklasing Says:

    Thanks Pistol–have a great Christmas!

  3. Nigel Says:

    Great post…I have similar sentiments that I will be posting on Christmas Eve in a simpler video format…can’t reveal yet. I know that Stacy over at Still Stacy is having similar struggles with Christmas stress and we all have a tendency to take our eyes off of our Lord and Savior…without whom there would be no Christmas.

    I’ll probably link to this post on Christmas Eve…


  4. This piece was vewry nicely written and sums up all the things I feel and know to be true but am too lazy to write it down.

    I’m guessing that your family won’t be gathered around Ye Olde Holiday Tree this year. 🙂


  5. I am both touched and moved, Murphy—thank you.

    One of the high points of my year has been getting to know you. I only hope our friendship blossoms in the months to come. I’d like that. You’re a good, decent man, Murph (for a lawyer) and I’m privileged to consider you a friend.

    Here’s hoping that you and your family and the every growing Murphy Klasing readership have the merriest of Christmases.

    I want nothing but good things for you Murphy.

    Good things only,

    Peace,
    Laurie Kendrick

  6. mklasing Says:

    elastic-You know it, we won’t be gathering around the Holiday Tree or singing “Solstice” songs or having a Merry Winter. 😉

    LK-The best thing I can say is ditto. You know–the highest compliment you can give a lawyer is to say they are “decent.” ha! Have a great Christmas.

  7. kristiane Says:

    Merry Christmas Murphy!
    You are right, surrender is a tough word.
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful time, and I hope that after the the festivities have ended the long winter is full of lots of posts. But then again, does Houston have a winter that requires you to be shut un for three months straight?

  8. mklasing Says:

    Kristiane-No, the only shut down is self-imposed. It was 75 today! Nice Christmas weather.
    Have a great Christmas!

  9. R.H. Potfry Says:

    Nicely said. The world needs more people writing about the practical purpose of God in our lives. It’s not to ask for things– it’s to ask for the ability to handle what’s given us.

    Merry Christmas, Murphy, and thanks for being a big part of TNOYF.

    Potfry

  10. mklasing Says:

    RH: Thanks for making each day brighter–TNOYF is both inspiring and hillarious–anything in life that can make you smile should be honored and your site definitely does that! Merry Christmas!

  11. yodedp27 Says:

    Christmas is the holiday of Saturnalia, a celebration of lawlessness in ancient Rome. It is not Christ’s birthday by any stretch of the imagination. Saturnalia was eventually taken over by the Emperor Constantine as a Christian holiday, hoping to pull the pagan masses into the Christian faith, hence, now we have Christmas, the holiday that the right wing will die defending as a religious political tool in order to bash secularism. The irony in this is that Christmas started as a secular holiday in ancient Rome. Check out the facts about Christmas here:

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/115686/Christmas
    http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm

  12. mklasing Says:

    Yodedp: Wow for someone who claims that Christians do all the bashing, you sure went to a lot of trouble to bash Christmas. Bravo! The only real problem here is that you missed the point completely. It is not ironic that Christmas began as a secular holiday–it still is for anyone who is not a Christian. The Tree is a pagan symbol that can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt as a fertility symbol. The mistletoe likewise is a fertility symbol with the white part representing male semen. I could go on, but you know all of this already.

    The reason Christians wanted to “pull the pagan masses into the faith” is because that is our calling. Acts 1 tells us that we are to go to all corners of the world and preach the Good News of the Gospels. Why? Because we believe that in order to be saved you must surrender your life to Jesus Christ. The reason we want people to hear that message is … so that they can be saved. It is out of love that the Gospel is preached. Now, you could site me 1000’s of examples of how that has been twisted–and so let me save you the trouble. As a non-Christian you are making the most critical error in evaluating Christianity. You are judging the “religion” by the rituals and human beings who follow it. That is an illogical way to view God.

    If you want to “judge” Chritianity-don’t look at Chrisitians because they are human and will ALWAYS let you down–just like any human being will. Judge Christianity by learning about the life and walk of Jesus–he is the example, not me, not Falwell, not Billy Graham, not Emperor Constantine–but Jesus. Anyone else is an imperfect human trying to deliver a perfect message–it will certainly have faults.

    Sorry you cannot find the joy in Christmas–If I look at the organizations that McDonald’s supports at a corporate level, I might not be able to find joy in their french fries. Christmas is about our individual relationship with a perfect God who loves us so much that instead of destroying us for our imperfection, he sacrificed his son so that we would be made “righteous in His eyes” in spite of our sin.

    I hope this Christmas you will find that joy and wake up on the 25th smiling, not snickering.


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