"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
...Find rest, my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from Him. ...Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God ALONE is our refuge. Selah (think on this!)"
Yesterday I heard an awesome message preparing us for the very busy season of advent- the preparation of Christmas. Our pastor talked about keeping Christ the focus of Christmas. He also told a story of a little church in Wisconsin. Someone had vandalized the church, stealing the baby Jesus from the outdoor nativity scene. To make things worse, nine months later, the thief spray painted on the church, "I have your baby Jesus."
Pastor used this story to point out the many things that steal the baby Jesus during the Christmas season- busyness, materialism, even pushing out "Christmas" by replacing it with the politically correct, "Happy holidays." He reminded us to that the true meaning of Christmas is NOT loving mankind, spending time with family, and peace (although those are all important and come as a result of the TRUE meaning), but that it is Jesus Christ. Let us focus on the true meaning of Christmas- the gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior, the only reason why we hope, our true LIFE. Share with everyone you know the amazing gift of Jesus this Christmas season!
I was reminded of a devotion I wrote last year, and I would love to share it with you again.
Have a “Mary” Christmas!
As, we begin to jump into the Christmas season, and all of the activities that surround it, I am again reminded to keep grounded on what Christmas is all about- the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the busyness, the things on all of our “to-do” lists, the shopping and entertaining… As I catch my breath, and remind myself to slow down, God again uses “Mary and Martha” to teach me these lessons.
One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Both sisters loved Jesus, and He would often come to visit them. Now Martha, the older sister, had a servant heart, but could get caught up in all of the details and become distracted by her many tasks.
One day Jesus came to visit the women. Martha was preparing a meal for them while her sister, Mary, the Bible tells us, sat at the feet of Jesus. Well, as Martha was busy with all of the preparations, she allows her heart to go from serving joyfully and selflessly to getting angry that she is doing all the work alone. As I read the story, I can picture Martha clanging the dishes, hoping to get Mary’s attention, banging the cupboard doors, and sighing loudly- you know, the “huhhhs”- expecting Mary to hear and get the hint! And, why do I think this? Probably because this is MY typical behavior when I am feeling sorry for myself in these situations!
Well, Martha finally blows, and she storms in the room where Jesus and Mary are sitting, and whines, “Lord! Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Boy, do I hear my own whining voice in this story, especially at this time of year. “Lord! Don’t You care that I am doing all of the work by myself? You know? The cleaning, the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking, the decorating, the baking… Make Brian help me!”
But, Jesus is not concerned with the fancy dinner, the decorations, the fluff. He tells Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. But, only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen what is better and it won’t be taken from her.” You see, sitting at the feet of the Savior, drawing near to Him, listening to Him, being still and knowing Him- that is what is important and it won’t be taken from you. It is the “one thing” our stressed, tired spirits need! It is the “one thing” that I NEED!
This Christmas, we can get caught up in shopping for the gifts, stringing the lights, decorating the tree, singing the songs, attending the parties, the details and distractions. But, my prayer for you is that this Christmas, you will experience THE gift- the Bright and Morning Star, the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, our Hope, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, your Burden Bearer, Our Strength, and Our Salvation, Immanuel- God With Us. My gift to all of you is the message that He loves you, you are His Beloved, and that He wants to fill you with all joy and peace, both now, at Christmas time and for the rest of your life!
“May the God of all endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with ONE heart and ONE mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Christmas, this New Year, and forever, “May He bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine down upon you. May he be gracious to you and give you peace.” Amen!