I have an addiction that I feel the need to come out and reveal publicly. I've heard it said that this is the first step to truly getting help so here goes: My name is Cammy and I am addicted to Christmas movies.
Not just your normal Christmas movies either but the super sappy, over-the-top ones. You know the kind.
The ones where the normal person, who seemed mentally healthy, ends up at the North Pole with Santa and the elves and for a spit second it seems strange, but then for some reason the scene is embraced like it's completely normal.
I find myself sighing a happy sigh as I watch Santa fly off toward the glowing moon.
Then there are the ones with the "Christmas Carol" theme where the scrooge-person magically captures the Christmas spirit and their hard heart melts or at least turns into some form of fruit cake.
They suddenly turn into the loving person we all knew they could be as they deliver hamburgers to all the homeless people in the park. That one always makes me cry.
Of course, my favorite ones are the romance stories. In these, the unlikely couple, who despised each other for some reason in the beginning, both take a sip of eggnog at the same time at the company holiday party and suddenly their eyes meet.
At that moment they instantly understand they both were the secret Santas handing out hamburgers to the homeless people they kept hearing about. What is the chance of that happening after all? They were clearly meant to be together. I sigh again with contentedness and then find myself wanting to look for people to give hamburgers to.
When I first outed myself about my problem, I was thinking about starting a support group. Now, I am seriously considering writing some scripts. I think I have it down pretty well!
When I take a second to think through why I am so drawn to the movies, I realize it's pretty simple. I love the anticipation of something wonderful coming at the end of the movie that causes great celebration. I also love the fact that no matter how many struggles the characters experience, Christmas movies always turn out perfectly in the end.
The couple falls in love and has a magical holiday wedding, the grump turns into a philanthropist, Santa gets the toys around the world in time, and as families spend time together, everyone is filled with peace and good will, at least by the time the credits roll.
As I was reading in 1 Corinthians 4 the other day, I saw something that reminded me that I too can be filled with anticipation as I look forward to celebrating something even more special on Christmas day. Also, with my event, everything really does work out perfectly in the end.
In 1 Corinthians 3 and 4, Paul talks about the glory of the new covenant. When Moses was given the 10 Commandments, he was given the old covenant, or the rules that people at the time had to live by to prove themselves to be true followers of God.
Paul calls this old covenant a "ministry of death" because really what it did was to point out people's sin and brought condemnation. Thankfully the people could make sacrifices for their sin to show their repentance, but it wasn't a cheery system to live under.
But, Paul points out that when God delivered the stone tablets to Moses, he had to hide his face so as to not see the full glory of God. Even the old law that was going to pass away was brought with great glory. Paul says in 1 Cor. 3:9," For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory."
Paul goes on to say," Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech-unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day, the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their hearts. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away."
1 Cor. 3:18 says, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." In chapter 4:6, it says "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
I finally realized that what we look forward to celebrating on Christmas morning with anticipation, is not Santa coming with lots of gifts, people finding a desire to be kind, or even families coming together to have fun or to maybe heal old wounds.
It is purely a time to celebrate that God so graciously sent His own Son to be born so that His glory could be revealed through the face of Jesus and that the new covenant would be fulfilled through His death. The new covenant that removes the veil separating us from God and makes it possible for us to be in relationship with God by accepting the reality of who His son is and what He did for us.
Jesus's birth is easily taken for grated as we get caught up in all of the holiday plans and to-do lists. I can get so distracted by all of the "feel-good" sentiment and forget the real focus of the party.
I wonder what life would be like if Jesus didn't come at all and we were still left to live with veiled faces.
What if we still lived under the system of sacrifice instead of grace?
What if the glory of God was really narrowed down to the "feel-good" sentiment of people and we depended on Santa (who doesn't really exist--yes it's true) to keep the sun, moon and stars in place, as well as deal with all humanity?
I will forever love Christmas movies and the "peace and good will" factor of the holiday season. But, I also need to focus more on anticipating the celebration of the birth of Christ whose coming changed everything. He alone is the light that shines through the darkness. I don't think Santa can do that. Now that's something to celebrate!!!! Glory to God!!!!!