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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Find Jesus This Christmas

Knowing the rush of the Christmas crowds and my dislike for them, I rose early yesterday and was in town by 8 a.m.  I needed to finish my shopping before the weekend when it would get really crazy in the stores!  I only had a small list of things needed to finish up, one item being a nativity for children.  I was in hopes of finding something like I purchased many years ago - a wooden set that was "play-able" for children.  It was to be a gift for my little Bible club children.  Prior to my early morning shopping trip, I'd had no success in finding a set such I described.  I was happy to settle with vinyl clings, or a snow globe even - something that would remind the children of the real meaning of Christmas.

In my looking I found firemen nutcrackers, reindeer dressed in every possible costume, snowmen, penguins, Santa's from every nation, gingerbread, Disney characters,  sleds, ornaments, stockings, kittens and dogs with red furry hats, garlands, lights, tinsel, trees, lights and candy canes, but no nativity sets.  (Excuse me, there was a Fisher Price set with three pieces at the Bible book store for $55 - not in my price range and not at all what I wanted.)

By 10:30, I found myself walking through the last store and thinking to myself, "What must all this do to the heart of Christ, the One Who left heaven's glory to be born as our Savior?"  Tears filled my eyes, blurring the sparkling lights and glitter around me.  It made my heart so sad.  Now please, don't think me a Scrooge or a legalist.  My girls were as enthralled in their early years with Santa as any child on my street, but we tried to never let that be the overshadowing theme of Christmas.  It was just  a pretend story, like Cinderella.  We strove to keep Christ at the center.  I'm beginning to think that that is more and more difficult to do, because of the influence of the world.

While in one store this week, a salesman asked, "Have you been good this year?" I knew where he was coming from and his reason for asking.  My response was, "Oh, I've tried!  But you know, the Bible says none of us are good, and that's why we have Christmas in the first place!  Jesus came because we needed a Savior!"  He smiled.  I had no intention of being smart with him, but only to bring in the Truth and talk about Jesus, because He's all that matters!

All through the season of Christmas, we must constantly bring our thoughts back to Christ.  He is what matters.  Spend time adoring Him, like the shepherds did when they heard the announcement, and if the cookies don't get baked, it's okay.  Think about Mary's response to being the mother of God's Son.  Imagine her heart, so filled with awe and wonder at what God was doing in her life, and if you can't get to sending out cards this year, you will have instead sent up your gratitude in prayer to the God Who loved you enough to send a Savior into the world.

A little baby came to take your place and pay for your sin.  He is Jesus.  Have you seen Him already this Christmas?  You'll have to determine to look for Him yourself ~ He won't be in the store window, or in a reminder in your newspaper flier.  He will be in the pages of your Bible, in the recesses of your heart.  Find Him and then share Him with others.

Tomorrow I'm going to share some practical ways you can keep Christ at the center during this season.  In the meantime, tell me - how do you keep Him your focus while you prepare for Christmas?

Because of Jesus,

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