Friday, December 16, 2011

Forgetting the CHRIST in CHRISTmas

Why is it in this season of CHRISTmas that I am the LEAST joyful and the LEAST CHRISTlike??? I relate to Martha, as opposed to Mary, in the story from the gospels, in her rushing about, getting last minute Christmas errands done. That in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, but my heart attitude is IRRITABLE, ANNOYED and ANGRY. I HATE Christmas shopping. Hello Grinch, I know. I am just not a gifts person to begin with, but I really don't mind buying for birthdays because it is ONE person you can focus on and really think through something they like. But Christmas shopping means buying for TONS of adults and all different aged kids (14, to be exact!)...and honestly, I just don't ever know what to get. So I end up putting it all off until the last minute, then frantically buying some junk that I spend way too much on and don't know if they will even like it or use it. So in the end, I am just frustrated and annoyed. Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas! It is also always around this time that I stroll past the Salvation Army guy ringing the bell, waiting for a small donation and my two children are melting down, I am TICKED off, and I have to give that guy a big smile and wave, as if to say, "maybe next time I'll throw some money in your bucket!" So after one of those frantic shopping days today (I felt that I needed to buy just one more item for my sisters-in-law because my other present for them wasn't quite good enough), here I was, standing in the check-out line of Macy's, as my 2 year old begins grabbing everything off the rack and my 6 month old starts to scream because it was time to eat. By the time I got home, not only did my kids need time-outs, but so did mommy! I knew that was a sign I needed to spend some serious time in God's word. I came to these verses in 2 Timothy: So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won't be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness-faith, love, peace-joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. (2 Timothy 2:1, 15, 21, 22, 24-26 MSG) Oh Lord, help me, even in this busy Christmas season, to throw myself into this work for Christ (not for myself!). Help me to concentrate on doing my BEST for You, work you won't be ashamed of. Help me to be a BLESSING to my family as we spend time over the holidays. Rather than thinking about myself and worrying about whether my gifts are "good enough", help me to be prayerfully thinking about them and asking them questions, loving them well, listening and encouraging them through my words and actions, mostly, seeking to bring You glory through my interactions and conversations. Help me, especially, with my own children, not to argue with them (have you ever tried to reason with a screaming 2 year old???), but be a gentle listener (empathetic, even when I am disciplining them) and be a mother who KEEPS COOL, working firmly but PATIENTLY with those who refuse to obey (my own children!). Oh Lord Jesus, thank you for the truth of Your word in the midst of a chaotic season and the deep reminder how much we need Jesus!

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