Today is December 1st. Getting really close to Christmas, isn’t it? Are you ready?
I am not talking about being prepared for Christmas Day. No, I want to know if you are ready to celebrate the birth of Christ? To throw off all the weight of your worries…all that anxiety and sin that is sucking the joy right out of you… and worship the Son of God.
To be in awe of the miracle of God becoming flesh and dwelling with us on earth.
The hot topic of conversation among women I have visited with lately has been the holiday season. And that topic usually covers two main issues. The first, which family members will be gathering where and when. The second…how in the world to get everything accomplished! The decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking.
All while trying to stay focused on the “reason for the season.”
The stress of family dynamics during the holidays is very real. Working around everyone’s schedules to plan the gathering can produce friction. Trying to juggle two Christmas meals at two separate locations on the same day will not only produce overloaded tummies, but also empty souls. Making plans, then discovering another family member planned something else? Oh, how those unmet expectations can strain relationships.
Sure doesn’t seem like “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Parents who already have overflowing plates add decorating and Pinterest-perfect table settings to their to-do list. They anguish over presents. For the kids who already have more than enough!
Focusing on the creation of Christmas, instead of the Creator and His Son?
Misdirected worship? Are we offering our worship to people or other created things?
Since today is December 1 let’s look at Hebrews 12:1. I have this thing with correlating the date with a Scripture and felt that Hebrews 12:1 was just too convicting to pass up today, 12-1.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
How easily we can make good things the ultimate things. Our children, grandchildren, spouse, physical appearance, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, sentimental traditions, outdoor lighting, elaborately wrapped presents…
Idolatry…craving, wanting, enjoying, being satisfied by anything that is treasured more than God.
And what about the idol of pride? Whether thinking too much or too little of ourselves, self is the center of our attention.
Idolatry just might be the sin that so easily entangles. Luring and enticing our hearts to craving things of this world more than Jesus.
Don’t you just know Satan loves it when the worldly things distract us from the joy and peace that Christ longs for us to experience as we celebrate His birth?
Some of us have a man-made race set out before us between now and December 25… if we are going to get ourselves, our homes and our families ready for the created day of Christmas. But after we limp across the finish line and it’s December 26th will we have even had a glimpse of the prize?
Will we miss the Gift?
When December 25th rolls around, I want to celebrate the long-awaited Jesus. And as I go through the next 25 days, the only way that is going to happen is if I spend every day focused more on the Creator than the creation of Christmas.
Oh, how my worship has been misdirected! I have stumbled into the sin of idol worship…craving created things more than the Son of God. Wasting precious time worrying about the Christmas planning and family dynamics…about what is not working out as I had envisioned…instead of being thankful for the promised Messiah.
It is mainly the created stuff that has taken my focus away from the true miracle of God becoming flesh and dwelling with us. It’s no wonder that my soul is troubled because something just isn’t right.
How do I make it well with my soul again? To bask in the love of the perfect Gift from God? Especially during this month of December, when Satan is prowling around, looking for a weakened, misdirected soul like mine to devour.
As only God can do, He sent a very special friend I had not seen in several years to help guide me.
During our two-hour visit, she reminded me of the importance of time spent in God’s presence:
The joyful giving of my time.
In His Word.
On my knees.
At His feet.
But her most important advice…
Be still and listen!
I kid you not, as soon as I typed be still and listen, I felt a sweet message from the Holy Spirit. The Christmas song “Do You Hear What I Hear” popped into my head. So, I went to YouTube and just listened. Then on to “Mary Did You Know,” followed by “O, Holy Night.”
My heavenly Father knows me! How I love music. My heart cries out, and He always responds back as I offer my praise and worship to Him.