Here we are a week into advent season. How are you feeling? Busy? Distracted? Stressed? Fearful? Hopeful? Joyful? Peaceful? The Christmas season has a way of exposing things in our hearts that may have been hidden. The extra stresses, expenses, expectations, and longings that arise during this season are unlike any other time of the year. How can our hearts be hopeful, joyful, and peaceful? It does take some intentionality. We work in cooperation with God. If we aren’t quieting our souls (Psalm 131) and coming to him, we can hardly expect to have our feelings changed. Sure, there are times when his Spirit blows on us in mercy and we experience his presence even though we weren’t seeking it. Those are sweet gifts for sure. But we also can position ourselves to receive this grace that we need by intentionally approaching God regularly. He promises to draw near to those who draw near. Talking with him, meditating on his word, making space for quiet reflection about what it truly means for Jesus to enter our weary world are simple regular ways we can quiet our busy hearts and minds. Are you drawing near this Christmas season or are you feeling a bit like Martha who was distracted with many things?
In January we will begin a new series on the Promises of God during our Sovereign Grace Women’s meetings. One of the most precious promises we have is God’s presence with us. If we take time to notice, the whole Christmas story is wrapped up in this promise. The incarnation is about God putting on human flesh – becoming one of us to be with us. Jesus is the most amazing gift we could ever receive. If you’ve looked in the prayer room lately you have seen the beautiful visual of this that Amanda Fowler created. A dramatic display of God’s light breaking through the darkness and the veil that separated us from God’s presence torn in two from the top, initiated and accomplished by God through Jesus, to the bottom, down to where we are. God’s intention from before the creation of the world was to have a people for himself that he would dwell with forever. Christmas can be a wonderful time to ponder the depths of meaning in the birth of Jesus. He truly is the most remarkable gift we have ever been given.
If you just aren’t really feeling it or if you are finding it hard to slow down, I want to encourage you to carve out some time. I saw an idea the other day that I am personally implementing. No phone during waiting in December. The idea is simple. How often do we pick up our phones while we are waiting for something? Waiting on a friend at a coffee shop. Waiting for our water to boil. Waiting in line at the grocery store. Waiting at a stoplight. We have a lot of minutes of waiting every day. What if, instead of picking up our phones or thinking about something else, we asked God to help us fix our eyes on him? How many minutes of our days could be redeemed for what Jesus told Martha was the good part that could not be taken from Mary?
Luke 10:40- 42 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
You might try this in those few moments of waiting instead. Breathe in and pray, “Christmas is Jesus, he is my greatest need” and breathe out, “help me to experience his presence and know his joy.”
We have more time than we think no matter what stage of life we are in. I am praying for us all that we will quiet our hearts and minds at the feet of Jesus this Christmas season and trade in our weariness or spiritual dullness for his peace and joy. This is what "Merry Christmas" is all about!