Sunday, December 7, 2014

Choosing peace at Christmastime


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. 
Peace. ha.
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 Furman
I 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
Colossians 3:17 
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.

6 comments:

  1. Wow! All I can say is Amen and Amen!! I was actually thinking the exact same thing this week and even blogged a little bit about the topic but dear friend you amazingly and wonderfully wrote what has been on my heart! I was speaking with a friend the other day who was super stressed out because of the lack of Christmas fund for presents.. My thoughts are it's not about presents (even though we want to give our children everything they want) It's about remembering Jesus and having a servants heart not just on Christmas but every day.. I'm not a mama who goes all out on Christmas but I'm determined to raise Evelynne being more excited about serving on Christmas instead of giving. Not that Leon and I don't plan to buy her things for Christmas but we're not going to go in debt doing it.. Thanks for the eye opener post. =D
    Heather @ http://abeautifulministry.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you sweet Heather! Yes, we so easily are distracted by what's not even truly important! Thank you for the encouragement :)

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  2. Great reminder! I love the post by Gloria Furman. It's the first time I have stumbled upon it and it's a great reminder that even things to celebrate our lord can turn into idols if we are not careful. Have a great Monday!

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    1. Yes, Gloria Furman is my favorite. Have you read any of her books?

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  3. It is such a subtle shift. We begin doing things to honor Jesus and to focus our hears on His Glory then all of a sudden look up and think, "how did I get so off track." We shouldn't get distracted, yet I confess that I know that I do. I/we need to slow down and draw nearer to God, especially when we can get lost in proclaiming the "reason for the season".

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    1. Yes, I have to read my own words as a reminder because our hearts are so easily distracted! Thank you for sharing Bekki!

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