It seems like I spend a massive amount of energy, focus & time for Christmas: food, parties, gifts, cleaning, prep, wrapping, cooking, concerts, etc all squeezed into 2-3 weeks of seemingly frenzied activities. By the time Christmas is over, I’m ready to sing Handel Messiah’s “Hallelujah” chorus, kind of
Having come through another Christmas season, on the other side, I find myself in recovery mode: less food, less activities, no wrapping, less cooking & lots of delightful cold, snow, quiet & still. But in my own way, I’m also in prep mode because I’m praying for 2015 and continuing to listen and be attentive with what God has for the upcoming year. We are on the cusp of turning the page on 2014 to begin a new chapter for 2015. Let’s not enter 2015 as a leftover, wrung out rag from 2014. Let’s seize the time, space and pause to not only nourish our souls but also to prepare us for the adventures that God has for us in 2015
Some prep ideas:
make a list of gratitudes from 2014 – reflecting on God’s amazing work & presence in your life over 2014
consider some places, situations, experiences that need some active forgiveness work (shortcomings, failures, idols, disobedience, etc)
take some time to maybe take a walk & listen to God – not only for what God has in store for 2015, but more importantly to be together
ask for the Holy Spirit to help you know the Helper better in 2015 than you have known in 2014
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
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 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!
Sometimes life is stressful: bills, decisions, planning, obstacles, expectations, future, work, relationships, etc. I find that in my life, there’s kind of an ebb & flow to this stuff – seasons that have more stress & pressure in contrast with less stressful seasons. No matter if you’re totally stressed out & you feel like you want to jump ship or if you’re in a really chilled time, enjoying a less pressure season, God’s got it:
the wisdom to help you make decisions.
the resources to supply various needs in your life.
the peace to calm your anxious mind.
the solutions to various problems that you may be dealing with.
the relationship help that you need for various hot spots.
the healing for your broken heart &/or physcial body
God’s got it!! Your needs can never outstrip God’s provisions. Your problems can never exceed God’s answers. Your brokenness can never overwhelm God’s healing. God’s got it! So let’s continue to align our lives with Jesus’ words in Matt 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you!”
God’s got it!!
And don’t forget to check out what Saving Moses is doing in December – it’s A-Mazing!!