“Keep Yourselves from Idols”

Presents, cookies, icicle lights, eggnog, Christmas songs, parties, snowballs fights, hot cocoa…

These are just a few of the many wonderful things we get to enjoy during the Christmas season, and they’re all good things. However, they also have the potential to become our focus during this special time of year when our best attention should be given to celebrating the coming of our Lord Jesus. I’ve often wondered why the Apostle ends 1 John with the seemingly disconnected sentence, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” and as I’ve been considering this question at Christmas time, it finally dawned on me that it’s connected with Jesus’ incarnation—when God the Son became flesh. In 1 John 5:20, the Apostle reminds us of this all-important reality: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” He reminds us that Jesus—God the Son become flesh—has truly come and has revealed what God the Father is like and has reunited us with the Father. In light of these unparalleled gifts Jesus offers us, the Apostle finishes his letter with a warning: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” What he is telling us is that, considering what you have in Jesus, why would you ever want to settle for something less? So, my friends, my advice to you this Christmas season is simple. Enjoy the hot cocoa, the gift giving, the cookies, and the lights, but make sure to let them direct you to their Giver. Let these God-given sensory experiences of Christmas lead you to worship God the Son, who took on those very senses to save you from the misery and judgment of sin! May you have a very merry, idolatry-free Christmas!

Pastor Mike