This article is a basically a repeat of the post at this time last year as it relates to Christmas and the subject of being MERRY at this time of year and at any time of the year. The society in which we live today is so concerned with political correctness that some businesses will not permit employees to wish customers a Merry Christmas, and it is because of Christ and religion, The refrain today is Happy Holidays. My Doctor told me just this week that he was in Sam’s Club and he wished them a Merry Christmas as he checked out. They didn’t return the greeting but said, “The same to you.” To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not,to him it is sin, so says the Bible. Be merry and consider what follows:
It’s the time of year that everyone is supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus and wish a Merry Christmas to friends and loved ones. The trend today is to avoid a term like “Merry Christmas” because it points to Christ. We do have a reason to be merry and it is all because of Christ, but is your heart really merry? Is it able to rejoice in a Saviour’s love? This rejoicing looks past the seen to the unseen eternal things of God.
The word “merry” means to be joyful, cheerful and festive. Of course one can be festive with alcohol such as wine and the scriptures give examples of this, but this is not of a spiritual nature. The heart is the seat of affection of the inward man so is it heaven centered or earth centered? There will be plenty of earth centered activity this Christmas in the giving of gifts and businesses trying to entice the public to buy their merchandise to make a profit for the year. The greatest gift of course is the “unspeakable gift”of Jesus Christ.
The wisest man outside of Jesus Christ, Solomon, tells us, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Prov. 15:13). Sometimes we can tell whether someone is down cast by their countenance that reveals an inward emotion. When the heart is “merry” it makes for a cheerful countenance; one effects the other. The conclusion is we always have reason to be joyful even though we may be going through a great trial of affliction. The opposite of the “merry heart” is “sorrow of heart” which makes for a broken spirit. Â This is not all bad, however, because David relates a broken spirit to an acceptable sacrifice to God. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17). This is humility at its best and if anything will humble us it is in the valley of affliction. Â Remember, however, that God can and does turn sorrow into joy.
Solomon gives the children of God more comfort regarding adversities in Prov. 15:15: “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” The merry heart has a continual feast in the good things of God. What is being experienced may not be good in the sight of the child of God; it may be evil which means some calamity and not any specific sin, but “weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.” Would to God everyone could have that continual feast in the good things of good. It is possible by having a “merry heart.” We can only have a Merry Christmas if we have a “merry heart.”
The Christmas season is like a medicine to some people as they look forward to seeing family and friends, giving gifts, and hopefully remembering Christ Jesus. Solomon again relates a medicine that will pep one up. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22). A medicine does good if you take it on schedule and follow instructions; it is good for what ails. A “merry heart” does good like a medicine so then it is medicine that needs to be adhered to on a regular basis. Broken spirits drieth the bones and then they become brittle and are more susceptible to being broken. Is your heart merry this Christmas season? If it is, then you are indeed blessed because this is one of those Christmas gifts of God.
Merry Christmas to all and may we all have a merry heart that makes for a cheerful countenance, does good like a medicine, and provides a continual feast!–December 22, 2014–Elder Larry Wise