Paul wrote the last 8 verses of the Book of Galatians in LARGE letters. Today we might think that is yelling at us as it’s said about text messages and email. But it was Paul’s way of emphasizing what was important. As he wraps up his letter, 02 whitewashedhe speaks about Christ as the greatest gift of all. Jesus is the gift that illustrates God’s great love for us all. It’s God’s love that sets us free from the chains of sin and death. As the Psalmist says, “I cried to him and he answered me! He freed me from all my fears.” The true meaning of Christmas, Jesus, makes it a very happy time of the year. I am free from the law that brings sin and death. I’ve been redeemed!

There will be many, many displays on houses and in yards all over that will light up the world with reminders of the birth of the Christ child. My wife and I will drive around the city checking out all the beautiful lights and external displays. We just love to see them all. We’ve had our lights up already since Halloween. We love it. But it’s good to remember that our faith is something more than just the external extravaganza. It really isn’t about the “good showing” on the outside. Paul was wrestling with the Judaizers who were more concerned about the external displays of religion than about the truth of the Gospel message. Sometimes I make too much of my Christmas lights. I think everybody should put up Christmas lights on their house. Maybe I can guilt you into it! In Galatians 6:12 Paul writes, “It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised…”

No one can put up enough Christmas lights to compare to the “light of the world.” We can never shine as bright as Christ in any way. He shines for us! If our righteousness had to shine out enough to meet God’s standard of brightness we’d all fail. Even those, like me, who try to do it and try to get others to do it can’t live up to that standard. Paul adds this truth in Galatians 6:13. He says, “For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.” The more people I can guilt trip into putting up their Christmas lights the better I’ll look and the better I’ll feel about myself. OK, this may be a stupid illustration, but what Paul is saying is there’s nothing wrong with Christmas lights or circumcision. But don’t be berated, guilt tripped or bribed into making things look good on the outside when what really matters is what’s on the inside. Jesus wasn’t pleased with an effort to dress up on the outside while neglecting what really matters.