Off the Wall, December 22, 2016

We’ve probably had our fill of it already. Every company that’s got our name and address has sent us mail, giving us special deals for magazines galore. Some have even lowered the price and thrown in free knives, coats or duffle bags. It goes without saying, they want our business because they know once we subscribe we are hooked, at least they hope so.

Sometimes I have even received phone calls reminding me my newsletter subscription or magazine is ending and won’t I please reconsider?

Some are worthy so I don’t mind getting these pieces of literature, but wouldn’t these organizations be further ahead if they didn’t send out these mailings?

And need I state all the “free gifts,” we received such as address labels, notepads and objects of decor, for example. This “junk” mail has jam-crammed our mailboxes. Let me just remind all that these aren’t “gifts,” but items of black mail. Don’t some of the letters read, “Here is your free “gift.” Couldn’t you please send us a minimum of $25?”

I got three different forms spaced over three months to renew one of my magazines. I forgot and did so three times. I was told recently upon calling the subscription department that I was caught up beyond 2019. Got to watch these guys! My “old manness” is coming to the surface, I’m, afraid.

What exactly does that word, ‘renewal,’ mean, anyway?

The best explanation that fits into what I’m going to state today centers around the following definition: “The replacement or repair of something that is worn out, run down or broken.”

Do you feel that the big sales and the low prices have persuaded you to become more materialistic? Have you given any thought as to the reason for the season? Should you not be taking this time to renewing your relationship with the Son of God, instead?

I was listening to one of my favorite game shows on TV recently and the question went something like this – “What are the top five top activities one does during Christmas?

To make a long story shorter, not one answer on the board had anything to do with the virgin birth, Jesus Christ, or going to Church to worship. This is one of many examples of things that need to be repaired as the definition indicated. One of the contestants even made light of the fact of people taking part in some act of religiosity.

Apathy often leads to the wearing down of feelings that need to be revamped and redirected in opposite directions. I feel that commercialization has replaced the true values of the season. The hustle and bustle of business in relationship to getting the best values has completely erased any thought of the Son of God’s birthday.

First it starts with black Friday buying sprees, then massive decorations interiorly and exteriorly, and then the spending of unneeded time in the kitchen baking cookies of all shapes and sizes.

When advertising invades people’s homes, and the talk of savings is presented in all forms, customers react. The only thing on their minds is purchasing things cheaply. There is no real thought as to why goods are bought, but instead, can one purchase things inexpensively.

Christmas buying has become big business for retailers everywhere. Christ has been put on the back burner, so to speak. The act of stepping back and analyzing the present is the first step one must take in order to begin a reformation. Then and only then can a renewal process take place.

Think about it. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about – renewals?

It is not only about wrapping presents, decorating and drinking eggnog, but a season to celebrate the birth of the One who died for us. It is a time to realize His importance in our lives, to form a stronger bond, a reshaping of a relationship. Through this process we will not only come to know Him better, but grow closer by utilizing two main teachings he shared with His creation – unconditional love and unconditional trust.

Praise God He sent the King of Glory, the One who would be the Wonderful Counselor. It would be through this precious child, spirits would be renewed and God’s unconditional love would be known for evermore.

This Christ child, born of a virgin, would be the bearer of God’s Word, creating a following that would turn out to be everlasting.

Have you renewed your relationship with the Almighty?

Celebrate Christ’s birth.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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