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By PASTOR LEE SEESE
Correspondent 

Lines by Lee

Happy Holy Days

 

January 2, 2020

The ball has dropped in New York. The confetti is cleaned up. Folks who drank too much are finally feeling better. Most unwanted Christmas gifts have been returned. Very few Christmas trees or light displays remain up. The credit card bills are in the mail. Children around the world have gone back to crying and pouting and are not being good for goodness sake. Why? I'm telling you why. Except for the Greek Orthodox, the holidays are over. The long, dark, bleak mid-winter January days are upon us. After several months' worth of anticipation and preparation the Christmas and New Year's holidays are now memories. For most people January is a bit of a let-down month.

Let me be the first to wish you Happy Holy Days. Of course, the word holiday means holy day. For the person of faith Sunday is special. For some, it is Saturday. Rightfully we know God rested after creation and established a day to be set apart (Genesis 2:3; Exodus 20:11). Yet, since every day is a gift from God we should seek to make each one a holy day.

The word "holy" is used in some form over 500 times in the Bible. The definition of the word holy carries the idea of being set apart, separate, or sacred. While the typical non-Christian merely tries to survive or get through each day, the person of faith has something to celebrate. Each day should be seen as something to be enjoyed, redeemed, and used for the purposes of God. That does not mean being a holy roller or having a holier than thou attitude. It does mean placing value on every day (no matter how cold and dark) and viewing it as an opportunity to serve a loving, holy God.

In the book of Leviticus the Lord issues a challenging statement and command to His people. "For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44). Just as He told Moses to remove his sandals because he was in God's presence on holy ground, the Israelites were told to be holy. They were to think and live in a different way from the pagan world around them as they approached each day. God's children were to be distinct. Through Moses, God was communicating an incredibly difficult message to imitate Him. Good thing that was just and Old Testament thing, right?

Peter makes it clear that being holy is for Christians as much as Old Testament Jews. In fact, thanks to what Jesus was born to accomplish by grace, holiness is more attainable and practical for us. Notice these challenging verses: So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, "You must be holy because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:14-16). Better read those words again, as challenging as they may be. "Must" is used twice. He states that we are to be holy in everything. The Holy Spirit who dwells in Christians makes holy living and thinking possible. Otherwise it would not be stated in the form of a command. It starts with the mind (1 Peter 1:13).

A person who knows the Lord is made holy because the righteousness of Christ is placed on them. Salvation gives us a new nature and sets us apart. We are in an amazing position of power, purpose, and blessing that the world cannot understand nor experience. Christians must think and act in a way that reflects being in Christ. We must walk in holiness as Jesus did. We are to be holy as He is holy. We ought to recognize that the gift of Jesus that the Christmas holiday recently celebrated means that each day is a holy day.

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Imitating our Lord in holiness is sincerely glorifying Him. Being like Jesus daily demonstrates that we love Him. The One who calls us to salvation calls us to be holy every day. The more we worship and submit to God the better prepared we will be to live for Him. A common question in December is, "Are you ready for Christmas/Santa?" Much preparation and time is spent on shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, and partying. December 25 is a day like no other as it relates to anticipation. Yet Jesus came so that God can be with us every day. Christ's mission of redemption matters always. Each day is holy to the Lord. We should celebrate Christ as much on Jan. 2 and Feb. 10 as we do on Dec. 24 and 25.

In this new year there will be days of sickness, bad news, fear, turmoil, Pirate's losses, election commercials, debates, deaths, and crime. There will be babies born, amazing sunsets, vacation days, victories and nice surprises. Some days we may have a difficult time getting out of bed physically or emotionally. In those times we must see it as a holy day. We will not always feel holy as sin takes its toll. We need forgiveness and grace daily. In 10-11 months we will begin preparing for Christmas. Perhaps we should see each normal day as a holy day to be better prepared for next Christmas.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 talks about the sequel to the Christmas story. What a contrast to the quiet humble birth in Bethlehem will be the return of Christ. "When he comes on that day, He will receive glory from His holy people – praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about Him. So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do" (2 Thessalonians 1:10-11). May the year 2020 bring a vision of God's call to holy living and holy days every day of the year.

 

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