Encouragement for your daily walk with God
It’s not long now. In a few short days, people will be “experiencing” Christmas. For some, it’s the shopping thing; others, the baking thing; others the decorating thing. For some, it’s even a religious thing. None of these are bad in and of themselves. But for many people, they are the necessary ingredients to achieve the ultimate Christmas. Unfortunately, when one tries to achieve the ultimate Christmas, it usually produces ultimate exhaustion!
In my mind, the major cause of this holiday’s exhaustion is the need to manufacture the ultimate Christmas. Who doesn’t want the ultimate Christmas — it’s so deceptively good. Here’s my 2¢ of pastoral advice, sidestep the seduction and set your desires in the right direction.
First, Christmas is not about “doing.” We have convinced ourselves that Christmas has a certain look and feel to it, which requires certain things to be done. There was nothing traditional about the first Christmas — the birth of Christ. It was a miracle! So, if doing is important to you, here’s the best thing you can do: point people to what was done for each of us because “there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Second, just be grateful. Gratitude is one of the best ways to take our eyes off ourself and return our focus back to Jesus. When gratefulness flows from the heart, competition with the stressors of the season is nearly impossible.
Christmas can be so much more than exhaustion, mediocrity, and empty promises from TV advertisements. So let’s determine to keep idols that compete for our hearts in check. A manufactured, ultimate Christmas may tempt me to “do,” but the awareness of Jesus in my heart will help keep Christmas in its rightful place.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” Luke 2.8-12