While I write this at the beginning of Advent, I am very much aware of the pressures of the pre-Christmas season. The expectations have been over the top for years. We live in unsettling times, but most of the pressures are at home. Some are financial, some are related to health issues in the family or extended family, and some revolve around the coordinating of the season’s events. I am sure there are other unnerving things that come to your mind. But underneath this preconceived idea that all is right with the world and what isn’t can be easily fixed, there is a Christ Child.
The Christ child would have never come had all been right with the world. God sent his son because the world was unhinged. Humanity was not responding to the prophets and the cure for the ailment was beyond their means or ability of any one person or group.
People dreamed of the day that God would come. They hoped for better. But the baby Jesus was a poor excuse for what they thought they needed. God still came to us. We are still broken in so many ways individually and communally. But God still comes to us.
To suggest that all your concerns or issues will go away if you just pull it all together may only lead to greater frustration. The answer can still be in the “poor excuse of a baby Jesus.” His presence, his acknowledged presence, will do more than all the great minds of our time can muster.
I find that during this unsettled time, that less is more. How I apply that theory is less outside information coming from all directions and more focused emphasis upon on a person, the person of Jesus Christ will settle our spirit. I am not suggesting that you can control the behaviors of those around you, but that you do have some control over what you do with your feelings and how you set expectations.
While Jesus may not seem to be the answer to every problem or concern you are trying to resolve, Jesus is the calming presence that reminds you that you are plenty.People might expect more, but God affirms you just as you are. Hearing that voice over and above all the other voices becomes important as deadlines approach and plans falter.
Before the time of Jesus, during the time of Jesus’s time on earth, and after Jesus’ time on earth the world has been a mess. So, why is everyone excited about the birth of Jesus? Well, if you watch enough commercials, you will quickly discover that the world’s excitement isn’t about Jesus. It is about retail sales.
Recognize what is being said to you day in and day out about where your attention “should be” during this season, and instead focus your mind on God at your rising and at your sleep. Doing so will help you will quickly see and understand the beauty of the Christ Child. He gives you all that you need and ever will need. He is plenty and you are plenty, because he shares all that he has with you.That is one of the delights of baptism.
So, I invite you to start and end your day with God. As you are able and when you find yourself disconnected and pressured during the day, come back to and focus on Him. Then all the voices that are around you will be less overwhelming and you will know what you are about – not just during this season, but all the days of your life.
Have a joyous and meaningful Advent and Christmas season as you renew your love for the God in Jesus Christ who has not and never will take his eyes off of you.
In His Service, Pastor Mitchell