Christmas is a wonderful time of the year when we celebrate lots of things & in lots of ways. We lavishly spend time, money, people interactions, parties, etc and revel in the celebrations of the season, opulence and abundance. Then there’s the day after, today, when we might be groggy, overstuffed and possibly fatigued. On this day, I find my heart longing to recover a sense of balance, desiring some still and quiet, centering into what’s really important, the One Thing that Jesus spoke about with Martha at her dinner party in Luke 10:42. Sometimes it helps us regain our core when we sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary, waiting, listening, watching and paying attention to Who is the most Essential in our lives, Jesus
Well, of course life has many exciting twists & turns with unexpected surprises, some good & others not as much. The wonderful part of the not so good surprises is that it’s a chance to look for the silver lining.
For example, on the way to the mountains for a family ski day, one of the kids puked in the car & one of the headlights on my car is burned out. So as we were looking for a gas station to clean up the puke, low & behold, across the street from the gas station is a battery & light bulb shop – thereby killing two birds with one stone, puke cleaning & bulb replacing.
Maybe when Jesus was born & there wasn’t any room in the Inn, maybe the silver lining was that a baby in a manger was much easier to find for the shepherds than a normal situation. Silver lining my friends
And like I said yesterday, Jesus take the wheel
For some of us, being in control is kind of important. HA!!!! Who are we kidding?!?!!! Seriously?!?? Many of us have control issues & if you’re exempt from this challenge, then there’s a good chance that you know a few “control” impaired people. Here are some indications that you might have a little bit of a struggle with the control topic:
*if you’re not in charge, you don’t participate
*your idea of teamwork is when everyone does what you tell them to do
*obsessive is only a frame of mind & not a possible reality (this is called denial)
*meticulous is your best friend
*you struggle when someone doesn’t get it “right”
*sometimes “excellence” is a euphemism for control, sometimes
Let’s let Jesus take the wheel & be in charge. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, even though it may feel uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with imperfection – it’s called practice. And there’s nothing wrong with letting Jesus be Lord of our daily living
Jesus take the wheel!
I had an interesting discussion recently with a friend related to talking with people about Jesus. It seems to me that sometimes we can get a little jittery about talking about Jesus with someone who isn’t necessarily a follower of Him (particularly if you lean in the introvert zone). Our culture also says that we are supposed to be tolerant & any overt or heavy duty proselytizing is nothing less than entirely offensive, rude & even repulsive. So talking about Jesus can get dicey.
So here’s an interesting thought, let’s start having spiritual conversations in our daily living, even with people who don’t necessarily believe the same way you do. Some things that can be helpful when having spiritual conversations include:
*listen: ask questions & pay attention
*respect: winning, convincing, coercing & shame don’t belong in these kinds of conversations; be gentle
*avoid the subjunctive: “should” & “ought to” tend to be unhelpful at best
*have spiritual chats with followers of Jesus: share with someone what God has been speaking with you about
I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas present yet & a few years ago, I didn’t wrap any until 11pm on Christmas Eve – what was the point in that?!??? I don’t think I’m generally a procrastinator, it’s just tricky to remember & find time. Maybe this year, I’ll wrap our presents soon, maybe. One question worth a little consideration is what will you & I be giving Jesus this year, to celebrate His birthday. It seems kind of counterintuitive to give everyone but Jesus a present on Christmas, the day when we celebrate His birth
So going with the 5 Love Languages idea, here are some gift suggestions for Jesus:
affirmation – take some moments to sing one of your favorite praise / worship songs directly to Jesus or make a brief list of reasons why you love Jesus and tell Him
touch – consider giving someone a hug that would appreciate that; sometimes when we touch someone with genuine love it’s a nice way to communicate genuine love to Jesus (when you do this to the least of these, you’ve done it to Me – Matt 25:40)
gifts – think about giving a coat, hats, mittens, socks, etc to a homeless shelter or discretely helping a needy family in your church, maybe make an extra donation to a charity (Saving Moses is awesome – smile)
service – every church has extra services, usually, to support the Christmas season: consider volunteering a little extra to share some love
quality time – consider dropping by a park and taking a brief walk with Jesus or waking up maybe 10min earlier just to give Jesus your presence, which is possibly the ultimate present He desires
We do alot of our shopping at Walmart because it’s cheap, close and convenient. The quality, however, can sometimes be a little questionable. For example, when I buy socks for my boys, I’ve learned that if I buy them from Walmart, I’ll usually have to buy 2-3 times the number of socks (holes, rips, etc) as if I buy a higher quality & little costlier brand from a different store. Consumer grade socks for my boys from Walmart usually have a pretty short lifespan in the world of boy socks
Unfortuanately, I think we sometimes treat Christianity with the same level of function. We want cheap, close and convenient: Jesus in the manger, candle light service in less than an hour, the cross, tomb, July 4th and the next thing. With this kind of thinking, it’s not a surprise that someone could easily be disillusioned, misled and / disappointed with the consumer grade version of Christianity, if such a thing really exists.
So here are some thoughts to consider:
does your faith facilitate more function from or attachment with Jesus?
is your faith in Jesus based on consumption, sacrifice and / or transformation?
is Jesus an accessory or a necessity in your life?
maybe consumer grade Christianity is only a Satan contrived deception to the authentic, daily and life-changing relationship with Jesus that will most certainly include sacrifice, fertilizer and resurrection
When I was in high school, I played basketball & I TOTALLY loved getting to play!! I enjoyed everything about basketball but most of all, I loved playing in games. In contrast, I didn’t enjoy sitting on the bench nearly as much as playing – after all, we spent hours practicing so that we could be useful & add value in the games.
In a similar way, let’s give Jesus access to “play” & participate in our daily living, rather than benching Jesus & only letting Him play on Sunday’s or during appropriate religious events
Let’s also not keep Jesus as a spectator in our lives but rather an invited, welcomed & integrated into every prt of each day!