A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
As we all know, Christmas is almost here. For almost everyone, Christmas is an extremely busy time of the year. Gifts need to be bought and wrapped, and kept within a tight budget. Homes need to be cleaned in preparation for family and friends. Food needs to be prepared. Cookies need to be baked. The intensity only seems to grow as Christmas Day approaches closer and closer. In fact, this time of the year can get so overwhelming that it becomes easy to think, “It would actually be kind of nice if I didn’t have to put up with all this busyness. It would actually be better if I didn’t have to celebrate Christmas.”
Yes, it seems we’ve gotten to a point in our world where Christmas is more about being busy with gifts, family, friends, and food than it is about celebrating the birthday of Jesus Christ. Certainly, giving gifts to family and friends, and celebrating the holidays with them, are great things, but we must avoid focusing on those things so much that we forget the reason for our celebration. We must avoid letting the stress completely overwhelm us to the point that we start to think about how great life would be without celebrating the birth of our Savior! We can’t let the darkness of the world overcome us, but instead must call upon the Light of the World! So, how do we fix this problem? How do we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus amid the holiday pressure?
The passage above gives a good clue. See, when we focus too much on our celebration and not on the reason for our celebration, it’s like we’re living as though it is the word of God that will wither and fade, and people (i.e. the grass and flowers) who will stand forever. It must be the other way around! We need to remember that all things will eventually wither and fade, except the Word of God, which will stand forever. What does that mean for our lives? For starters, it means that we can be refreshed by allowing the Word of God to transform our way of thinking, especially around the holidays.
It’s a good practice to take a few minutes each day and read something from the Word of God, the Bible, because it is there that God speaks to his people and reveals his love for them. If you don’t know where to start, begin by praying with the passages surrounding Christmas. This could even be a good practice for the whole family – the kids, too, can be reminded that the best gift of all was given to all of us 2000 years ago. All four Gospels have something about the birth/coming of the Messiah: Matthew 1:18-25, Mark 1:1-8; Luke 2:1-20; John 1:1-18. Read and pray through these in the upcoming days. Go to a place free of noise. Turn your phone off, turn the radio off, turn the TV off, turn everything off. Picture the scenes in your imagination. Prepare your mind and heart for the great celebration of Christmas. Remind yourself that all the busyness surrounding you will eventually wither and fade, but it is the Word of God that will stand forever.