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17
Dec

What Christmas Is All About

Posted by on in Weekly Encouragement Notes
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As Pastor, it is my desire to share a message with you that will encourage and uplift you. I truly pray that your spiritual walk is strengthened by something you will hear today. Again, thanks for spending a little time with us. 

 

The busy of this time of year seems to grow each year that goes by. There seems to be more and more that we just “have to do.” We get overwhelmed after a while with it all. There comes a point to where it is more of a chore than a joy. When this point arrives, it is time to stop and give everything some thought. While most of the time it is self-induced, the struggle to make things “perfect” becomes a task that just robs us of the true joy that this season should represent. 

 

Habits are formed almost never out of intention. Most things begin with a curiosity or a thought of just one time. Addiction often becomes the next phase. However, if we apply this same thought process to Christmas and what it seems to have become, then we see the exact same thing happening. We do what we can for gifts, but then somehow feel guilty because we did not do more. So next time around we stretch things and go a little further. This, we also find, is not quite enough, so the same attempt to resolve it the following year is followed in the same way and then after a number of years we find the whole thing just exhausting. 

 

This may very well not apply to everyone, but I would say that in general it has become true for most. Society has attempted to form the rules of how life must be lived and when we do not measure up then indeed we are left feeling small. More, more, more seems to be the normal mindset and then even after more is obtained, more is never enough. This issue, however, is not the quantity of what is obtained but rather the quality and what was involved in the obtaining. When the things we do become a chore, a task, a drudgery, then we no longer enjoy them. We see them, sometimes, as have too’s because of work or some type responsibility, but if we do not enjoy it, we very often do not give our best efforts. We often mail it in because our hearts are simply not there. 

 

What does this have to do with Christmas? What does this have to do with serving the Lord? How does this apply to our faith and life as a believer? In one word, it has EVERYTHING to do with it. Christmas, at one time, was about celebrating the greatest gift ever known. It was about family and friends enjoying times of fellowship, food, laughter and simple joy. It was a time that a gift or two was exchanged and it was absolutely the thought behind it that mattered the most, not how much it cost or how many more things were coming. It was kept simple and it allowed joy to be the overall feeling that we were left with. When expectation found its way in, when guilt became part of the process, when fear of debt and the anxiety of Black Friday became a reality, joy was escorted to the door and sent away. Because now the season of joy has become the season of “oh good grief I will be glad when this is over.” 

 

In our service to the Lord, regardless of the role, it very often is the exact same thing. When expectations become the dominate issue, when discouragement or disapproval is the only emotions that seem to be found, then joy in serving becomes MIA (missing in action.) But, Pastor, are we not to enjoy serving the Lord? Yes, indeed we are, however, when serving is not allowed or is always critiqued or never shown gratitude toward, from our fellow servants it creates an atmosphere that is not one of joy but rather one of “I really don’t want to anymore.” While we seek to please God with what we offer, with what we do, we are often overwhelmed by the words of others and the heaviness that comes with those words. We lose sight of he joy we are to be having or finding. Like the crowded malls, stores, parking lots, the pushing and shoving, all of these cause many to totally lose sight of the joy and splendor of Christmas because all they can see is the ugly and as a result, they tend to not see why it matters anymore. 

 

Our life of Faith is often affected by the nature of what surrounds us. It is not to say that we stop believing, it is not to say that we do not trust God anymore or have even walked away, but we tend to consider finding other ways to worship, serve or express our belief. The expectations of others, the demands of this or that, the rules and regulations, the traditions, the rituals, the limitations on what can or can’t be done, the concern over who will get upset or disapprove, all of these steal joy, they all place a dark cloud over what should be the conclusion or beginning (depends on how you view it) to our week. The time that we set aside to give thanks, to share our victories from the prior days, to join one another in prayer for the struggles or even defeats, to lift each other up, to grow closer to our Lord, we lose sight of that when there is so much stuff in the way. Much like Christmas has become for so many, a time of what should be extreme joy, is often reduced or hindered because of everything that surrounds it. It simply should not be this way.

 

As we see the lights shining, the trees glistening with tinsel and bows, as we hear the songs of thanks, joy, laughter, and even the silly ones, may we stop and give thought as to what it is truly all about. As we look around and see our own life, our place of faith and belief, may we stop and remember what started it all, what made it real to you and then find the method needed to clear away all the clutter, a way to see beyond the crowds, beyond all the things in the way and get back to what makes it special. 

 

When we lose sight of the meaning of things, we stop seeing them for what they really are. 

 

Never lose your love for something that you have true passion for, because when you do, it is hard for that love to return. Anything that steals has not place in our life. Place it all in the hands of God and let Him guide you in the ways He would have you to go. 

 

Merry Christmas and may the New Year be filled with goodness, blessings and grace in an abundant way. 

 

Pastor Andy

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First Baptist Church Colfax  |  ADDRESS: 24 S. Walnut Colfax, IA 50054
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