The Gift of Christmas Out of Season
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
Too many times the season after the Day of Pentecost is felt as the season of the church when vacations are experienced, attendance in church is not the priority as during Advent, Christmas and Easter; no major programs except for Vacation Bible School will be presented. It is a time to slow down, rest, find ways and places to relax and be refreshed other than to attend church and attendance drops off. With the Day of Pentecost, its main focal point at the beginning of the season, the long slowing down of church activities starts.
However, the days and weeks after Pentecost can be very special as a season in the life of the church. With the season comes either a deeper sense of what Pentecost really means, or a relinquishing of duty, so to speak, to God, others and the church. The telling of not so familiar Bible stories; the reading of the more obscure scripture references can either deepen a relationship with God or drive people away. There are times when a period away is beneficial; however they should never be the end that satisfies the means.
At the Day of Pentecost as described in Acts 2 a tremendous reminder of a previous gift of God was given in the presence of another gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit. The tongues of fire were the tangible essence of what was happening within the hearts and minds of those present. They were hearing the message of Jesus, and were hearing it as only they could. They experienced the life-giving Spirit of God.
The gift to humanity that was given some thirty-three years previous was God the Father in the presence of God the Son, Jesus Christ, at the event of Jesus birth. I experienced further insight while reading one of Michael Phillips books, Wild Grows the Heather in Devon. It is winter and the family is out for an afternoon sleigh ride; later they are going to make snow ice cream and cut down a Christmas Tree. The father and mother, Charles an ...
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