Fort Collins, Colorado, has recently been in the forefront of the news with its debate on how to handle decorating the city and government buildings for the upcoming Xmas season. The initial feeling was that the city should only put up white lights so that they would not offend those that kept Hanukkah (Jews) or Kwanzaa (African-American). Well… one man, the local Sheriff, had had enough and decided that he was going to put his foot down and put up a Xmas tree and decorate it. He was going to defend what he thought was right no matter what… and he did! And many showed up to help him decorate the tree in spite of the contrary opinion.
Of course, the problem is that while he thought he was standing up for what was right, he was not. Putting up a tree for Xmas is not something God wants us to do. Note what Jeremiah 10:2-4 says, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles….For one cuts a tree from the forest….They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers So that it will not topple.'” It really does not get any more simple or straightforward than this. God does not want us to take some day of our choice and its customs that are founded in paganism, and “make” it a day of honor towards Him. God wants us to worship Him in truth (compare John 4:23-24), following His directives. He does not want us to worship Him pursuant to the creations of man (compare Matthew 15:9).
Hopefully, one day the Sheriff will be able to take his zeal and combine it with truth as God desires. What a powerful combination this will be in the future! But for those that have an ear to hear now, there is the opportunity, and even more importantly, the obligation to live His way of life with a fervor and enthusiasm that is becoming of the Word of God. We are admonished not to lose our first love (compare Revelation 2:4), lest we are found unprepared when Christ returns (compare Matthew 25:5).
Let us be ready to give an answer or a defense for what we believe (compare 1 Peter 3:15). Now is the time to not take “standing up” sitting down!