Want More Holidays? You Can Have ‘Em!

OK, you’re sitting at your desk eager to digest this meaningful missive, and out the window you see your neighbors removing the gravestones from the makeshift cemetery in their front yard, taking down the witches, skeletons, and cobwebs from their trees, and letting the air of their giant inflatable Frankenstein that is obscuring most of their home from view, all while trying to recover from the spate of horror movies they watched last month. I know, you’re hoping they share their leftover candy with you. By the way, I wrote this paragraph assuming that you are not outside doing those same things.

The idea of remembering dead people is OK, in and of itself, but “Halloween” has become a celebration of death, as well as a promotion of too much satanic stuff. Well, we can now leave that bizarre “holiday” behind for another year, and move on to the two biggies this month and next: Thanksgiving and Christmas. We can, and should, enjoy these annual celebrations, but we should remember that for us, as genuine “saints,” every day is a “holy day.” So we can choose to celebrate as many “holidays” as we want to. As my old pals Joe, Paul, and Ralph (aka “The Pads,” as in Brillo—a loving reference to their 1971 hairdos) once sang, “A merry heart is a holiday.”

Every day, even in this dark world, we can enthusiastically celebrate our life in Christ, “the life that is life indeed.” Here are a few succinct keys:

Colossians 3:15-17
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I’m sure you can see the correlation between being thankful and being peaceful. It’s hard to be stressed, bummed out, or feeling sorry for yourself when you are gushing with gratitude. By the way, when was the last time you burst into spontaneous song to your Heavenly Father and/or your Lord Jesus? And accompanied that with some slick dancing before the Lord moves, like David? Also, the more we hold “the message of Christ” in our hearts, the more our words and deeds will be saturated with his goodness and graciousness.

Remember that Colossians corrects the doctrinal deviation from the marvelous revelation of Ephesians. As such, it contains scores of Greek phrases also found in Ephesians, the apex of God’s Word to us Christians. Ephesians exalts Jesus Christ as Head of the worldwide Body of those who make him Lord. By expanding the Ephesians language and calling him “the image of the invisible God (1:15),” the “sustainer of all things (1:17),” “the firstborn from the dead (1:18),” the “reconciler (1:20-22),” and the “fullness of ‘God-ness’ in bodily form (1:19; 2:9),” Colossians refutes the contemporary heresies then attempting to tarnish him.

Ephesians tells us that the free gift of our salvation is “by grace through faith” in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Colossians debunks the false notion that any human regulations or works are at all relevant to us, and are in fact detrimental (and I already have enough detris messing with my mentals).

Ephesians most gloriously reveals to us who we are in Christ (Chap. 1-3) and what we should do about it (Chap. 4-6). Want something to do for the rest of your life? Master those truths. Look how the opening verses of Colossians refer back to the Ephesians doctrine:

Colossians 1:3-6
3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.

When was that day for you? To what degree have you maintained the joie de vivre that you experienced back then? OK, it means “joy, cheerfulness, lightheartedness, happiness, gaiety, high spirits, elan, jollity, joviality, exuberance, ebullience, liveliness, verve, effervescence, buoyancy, zestfulness.” NOTE: Each of those attractive qualities is your choice—and mine! I’m going for elan, verve, and ebullience.

As kind of a closing exhortation, Paul sums up how we should respond to what he has written in his epistle to the brethren at Colosse:

Colossians 3:23-24
23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

So the question of the moment is: How willing am I (and how willing are you) to live for the One many others have died for?

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