"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, December 24, 2010

THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS


Matthew 1:21 (NIV) "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
Luke 2:10 "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."



It's not going to happen this year; I am going to be more intentional with my time this Christmas; Our schedule is not going to get out of control, I thought as I prepared an appetizer for a Christmas party. Despite my efforts to stay focused on the purpose for this season, I found myself overwhelmed by the expectations of this time of year. One recent weekend, we had our boys' school Christmas program, a wedding reception, baby shower, birthday party, and a women's cookie exchange. Too much. Just glancing at my calendar nearly gave me a coronary.

Not only is the Christmas season a wonderful time for parties, programs, concerts, gift exchanges etc., the festivities can also become a distraction to the real heart of Christmas. Being consumed with buying and giving gifts can inhibit us from cherishing The Giver. The heart of Christmas is Christ. Without Him there is no Christmas. No reason to celebrate. No reason for good news. No reason for great joy. No redemption for our sin. No Savior.

Unfortunately, many times we are too busy with this season we don't have time for Jesus, or we don't make time for Jesus. Our busyness masquerades as an attempt to celebrate. This time of year can become so chaotic we don't have time to "treasure and ponder all these things in our heart," as Mary did (Luke 2:19 & 51). We have forgotten the most important part of Christmas; the first six letters. Pastor Greg Laurie shares his insight regarding this epidemic when he says, "The only begotten Son has become the only forgotten Son."

We aren't the only ones to forget Jesus. Luke 2:41-52 records the account of Joseph and Mary taking 12 year old Jesus to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, as was their custom. Thinking he was in the company of others who were traveling with them, they left for home. After traveling a full day, they realized he in fact was not with them. They returned to the city in search of him. Three days later they found Him in the temple courts.

His parents lost Him. They forgot Jesus. Where was He? He was right where they left Him. Maybe this is a question we need to answer for ourselves. Where have we left Jesus? Is He at the bottom of our baking list? The bottom of our shopping list? The bottom of our house chores? Is He squished between cards, decorations, and family pictures? I say this figuratively to emphasize how in the midst of all the details of this time of year it is easy to misplace the One we are to celebrate. Friends, Jesus is right where we have left Him. If you are feeling far from Jesus this season, guess who moved? It is not Him.

It requires an intentional effort to maintain focus on Christ during Christmastime. The enemy would like nothing more than to divert our attention away from Him. The above mentioned activities are not wrong. However, when they crowd and scrunch and diminish our real reason for celebrating we are lured into dangerous territory. Each of us must evaluate the balance needed and the priorities in our own hearts in order to plan our lives accordingly. Let's not forget the heart of Christmas. Let's keep Him at the top of our list and the forefront of our minds.

As my husband David says, "MAY THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS FIND A PLACE IN YOURS."




* I will take a couple weeks off to share more time with my family. Join me Jan. 14th for my first devotion in the New Year when I will resume my weekly posts. Thank you so much for your continued support of Hester's Heart. I am so excited for what the Lord has in store for 2011. Sweet blessings to you all. Merry Christmas!

Heart Work:
Make time to evaluate the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas on your calendar. Decide which festivities contributed to your worship of our King. Evaluate which events were merely a distraction. How will this realization help you in the future?

Celebrating our Savior's birth can occur every day. Find time between now and New Year's to spend uninterrupted time in worship.

Heart Examination:
Which of your activities are born out of duty or obligation? How can you encourage an intentional focus on Christ in your home? What will you say 'yes' to and what will you say 'no' to?

How can the heart of Christmas find a place in yours?

Heart Changing Word:
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Matthew 1:21 "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

Luke 2:10 "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Luke 2:19 & 51b "Mary treasured all these things in her heart."





Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.