I was listening to the word "peace on earth" as they played through my laptop speakers in a Christmas song. I laughed to myself a little.
I guess Christmastime is supposed to be characterized by peace, but somewhere in the middle of the Christmas cards, parties to be planned, gifts to be wrapped, lights to be strung and goodies to be baked, we often exchange that peace for a pair of bargain boots on black Friday.
As I mulled over this concept, I couldn't help but think about the story of Mary and Martha
Luke 10:39-42"And she had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'"Ironically enough, it's at Christmas that we are so busy trimming the tree, planning Christmas parties, addressing Christmas cards and belting out carols in celebration of Jesus' birth, that we neglect truly worshiping and spending time with that same Jesus. If we learn anything from the Mary and Martha passage it's that sitting at Jesus' feet is much more important than all our Christmas festivities.
The tree will die, the ornaments will eventually be packed away (or smashed by your energetic two year old), the cookies will be eaten, the friends will go home, and those black Friday bargain boots will eventually wear out. But Jesus, he remains. He is the peace on earth that can never be taken from us.
"Too often we are happily circumscribed in our own myopic little kingdom where we melt down signposts that point us to Jesus and fashion them into idols to worship." -Gloria FurmanI am guilty of taking the signpost of Christmas and singing to it, decorating it, being excited about it, and yes, even worshiping it, and the happiness that I so misguidedly attributed to it. Christmas isn't it, Jesus is. And so I purpose this Christmas to choose peace, to worship the one Christmas is about. Jesus, the infinite one became an infant. I can't even for a moment fully grasp that concept, but I do know that without that sacrifice, there is no peace on earth.
So when we trade peace for the parties and allow ourselves to stress about gifts, cookies, lights, and whatever else is on our plates this season, we are insulting the sacrifice that Christ made to bring us peace! That's enough to make me stop and repent.
And because I can't say it any better than she does, I leave you with this profound reminder from Ann Voskamp. May our hearts be ever reminded this Christmas to be still, and allow the peace that is found in Jesus to fill our hearts.
“So now we pause. Still. Ponder. Hush. Wait. Each day of Advent, He gives you the gift of time, so you have time to be still and wait. Wait for the coming of the God in the manger who makes Himself bread for us near starved. For the Savior in swaddlings who makes Himself the robe of righteousness for us worn out. For Jesus, who makes precisely what none of us can but all of us want: Christmas.”
- Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.