It is very common this time of year for families, churches, shopping malls, (and even some businesses) to decorate in ways that lift up the Christmas season. The light displays throughout the Tulsa and surrounding area spectacular. Christmas trees and manger scenes can be easily found. (Pictured above is a display that was set up by the Passages Sunday School class of the 1st UMC of Sapulpa). But the value of these displays does not come from a simple casual glance; rather the value is found in a pause coupled with reflection...
It's when we see the manger scene and pause to reflect, "Christ was born into this world because God loves me" that the significance of the season becomes real. It's when we see a light display and pause to reflect, "Jesus is the light of the world and the bright and morning star" that we can offer the prayer, "shine my my heart Lord Jesus." It's when we hear the beautiful music of Christmas and pause to reflect, "Heaven and nature sings because of the birth of Christ and so should I" that we can join in joyful song.
I hope, for each of us, that "holy symbol's" (of whatever faith we practice) can be found in our home. For us a manger scene (which has been in my family since my childhood) will be displayed. But a symbol is meant to speak to us. A symbol is meant to remind us of something. A holy symbol is meant to draw our thoughts to God. What better time than at Christmas to turn our thoughts and attention to Him.
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Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.