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White Elephants
Photo: Botond Ferenczy
Have you climbed to the top of Mt. McCoy? For those who don’t know it, Mt. McCoy is a peak at the western end of Simi Valley in Southern California, punctuated by a large white cross at the top. Up until about 30 years ago, sunrise services were held there every Easter Sunday. Following the switchback trail to this crucible only takes about 30 minutes. And, for this minimal effort, you are rewarded with a sweeping vista of the valley, and the hills that meander toward Los Angeles.

But the first time I made this trek, I was disturbed by what I found at the top. Scattered among the rocks that encircle the majestic white cross is garbage. That’s right, garbage! Cigarette butts, soda cans and beer bottles are strewn at the base of the cross. This bothered me until I realized this is exactly what Jesus asks us to do – bring our garbage to the foot of the cross, and leave it there!

The Garbage of Our Lives

Of course, the Lord wasn’t talking about our rotten vegetables, banana peels and Styrofoam containers. Jesus was talking about the garbage of our lives – the mistakes, mess-ups and disappointments, the character traits we wish we could change but seem to be stuck with.

It’s Christmas. And living in a country where we have so much and are continually encouraged to buy even more, it’s very easy to lose sight of the “reason for the season.” Bible scholars are convinced that it is highly unlikely Jesus was born on December 25th because there would not have been shepherds tending their sheep in the winter. Nonetheless, this is the day we celebrate our Lord’s birth.

And paradoxically, we celebrate the Savior’s birth because of His death (on a cross). God loved us so much; the Almighty gave us the greatest Christmas gift imaginable – a savior to pay the price for our sins. By suffering on the cross for all the wrong we have done, Jesus bought for us eternity – a gift no credit card can buy. But even though it’s a free gift, it has to be accepted in order to become ours.

This Christmas Season, if you haven’t done so already, think about participating in the most awesome gift exchange in the universe. You bring the garbage of your life to Jesus. Give the Lord all your white elephants. And, God will give you joy, peace, forgiveness and eternal life in its place.

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By Kathy A Lewis. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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