Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Style and Content

If you have read Mark Twain's novels and Shakespeare's plays, you can easily tell them apart. How? Because each author's writing style is fitted to his purpose and content. 

The same thing is true about the Bible. Every book offers a different lesson, through both content and style. 

For example, the book of Deuteronomy is an incredible example of good teaching techniques. It takes a set of rules (grammar), and repeats them over and over with just a slight difference every time they are retold. Memorizing Deuteronomy forces the mind to say the same thing over and over again. The style of Deuteronomy helps us input information into our brains.

Then, the content of Deuteronomy teaches us to see the bigger story the rules highlight. Once the feasts, sacrifices, and rules are memorized, all the events and festivities of the Israelites take on a deeper meaning, as does the law itself. We begin to understand that there is a lot of depth to those laws our fathers impressed upon our hearts. We study how the Israelites lived them out. Failure, and then success. Failure, and then success.

Then Jesus comes to earth and important things happen at each feast that show how He alone can fulfill the law and provide the sacrifice. Of course! We begin to understand that the Israelites couldn’t obey with their own strength. Then we read Paul and realize neither can we obey. 

We deserve to be sacrificed at each feast. But Jesus paid the price for us, so with a wiser and happier heart, we can take the knowledge of God’s word and His world, understand our place and His purpose for us, and wisely build a place for the Holy Spirit to dwell that bears much fruit. 

Today, Thanksgiving is one week away. As we enter the holiday season, it's easy to fall into a pattern of feasting and fellowship that lacks purpose and understanding. 

Take a minute and think about what we are called to write on our hearts and minds as Thanksgiving gives way to Christmas; and Christmas, to Easter. And then ask yourself, how can we shape the style of our holiday season to reflect the content of the truth we know it represents?

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