I have learned over the years what Christmas is all about from the life of my parents. Maybe you did too. The confidence they showed in knowing why we celebrated this season. We lost our mom three years ago and our dad last year. For those who have lost a loved one you know that there are times you hurt, even ache to just be able to sit, talk and share with them. It is in that time God teaches me more about who he is and who I am.
It is hard to grasp what it means to live selflessly when we are young. Hey, it’s hard even as we get older but we eventually begin learning what has eternal value. Most of what I thought was so important in my younger years has gone to the wayside. Even now, I am still learning. Those things rarely last beyond a generation and it leaves you wondering why it is that we put so much priority on them.
I think of the many stories of a parent who wishes they would have spent more time with their kids growing up or children who regret not spending more time with their parents or grandparents after they’re gone.
How easy it is to do this with God. Humanity has done this throughout time. “I’ve” done it too many times to count.
I’ve begun to see that some of the small things I do to help and encourage others may in reality be bigger than the “big” things I do that I think are most important.
John 11 sheds some valuable insight. Some days I stop and realize just how far I have let my wandering go. God then gets my attention and tells me it’s time for a realignment, a reccaulating so to speak. Then to take time to remember, reflect, and worship “The Ressurrection and Life, Jesus.” The One who is to be at the center of our days.
Mary was a quick learner. Martha, who I definitely relate more to, had to come to learn this.
I’m like the plastic car fender that will often pop back into it’s mold if dented. God is taking my old mold and reshaping it to the new one he has for me. I want to welcome the new mold and seek to walk in it in order for it to take a more permanent shape. Even then, I can find myself slipping back into what my sin nature wants to take me. It’s comfortable and familiar. Lord, teach me daily what it means to die to myself and live for Christ.
May this be the season that we learn what Lazarus, Mary and Martha learned in the presence of Jesus. Working hard is a gift. Jesus worked at an incredible pace. All the while he also lived fully in the moment, walking fully with God, taking time to sabbath, and to enjoy and love time with others. Martha has the wonderful gift of service, Mary understands what it means live in the moment, to stop to worship and adore Jesus and of course Lazarus knows what it means to be resurrected. They all are sinners that receive God’s amazing grace.
May we learn from each of their examples this Christmas time and be thankful that we can live for today, work hard for tomorrow, die daily to ourselves and live fully for Christ. Then I gain the same confidence in Christ that my parents did and discover that I am fully satisfied in him, for he is all-sufficient.
Merry Christmas everyone! Pastor Dick Smith
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.