Do you remember the first time you witnessed something truly beautiful? (Tomorrow is the seven-year anniversary of me marrying the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen! I love you, Lauren!) Maybe it was the first time you saw the ocean, or possibly the first time you saw the mountains in October. I believe experiencing the kind of beauty that takes our breath away is common to us all in some way. However, I’m also convinced that repeated exposure to beautiful things can cause us to become far too familiar, unmoved, and potentially unimpressed. It’s our nature.
Don’t believe me? Tell me about the fifth time you saw the ocean? The truth is that things in life that are truly worthy of our awe rarely strike us multiple times. We remember the first and second experience, but after that, it is a fight to remain impressed. Have you seen a third child’s baby book lately? It’s because they don’t exist! I’m a second child and I barely got four pictures (I joke! love you, mom!). But seriously, we get over things so quickly!
This human dilemma was never more clear than the summer I spent in the Himalayas (the most beautiful place in the world!). I can still remember the look on our guides’ faces as we stopped AGAIN to take ANOTHER picture of the beauty surrounding us. Our guides were from the area and it wasn’t that they didn’t think the mountains were beautiful; rather, they had experienced the beauty so many times that they were familiar with it. The awe that led us to stop everything to take a photo had departed them long ago.
Christmas is Coming!
We are just a few weeks out from Christmas and there is a real possibility that it will come and go without leaving an impression.
Think about this…Simply put, Christmas is the celebration of God’s greatest promise becoming humanity’s greatest gift. An event in history that is IMPOSSIBLE to exaggerate. It is possible to over-emphasize the shepherds, wise men, Joseph, and even Mary. However, the fact that God took on flesh to do for humanity what humanity could NEVER do for itself is without measure. God’s actions aren’t unlikely…they are impossible! That is, for anyone other than an awe-inspiring God.
I’m convinced that many of us do not give God the worship he deserves at Christmas and it’s not because our belief is lacking. It’s because our focus is missing. I believe this is the result of Christmas Clutter, or the secondary things of Christmas replacing primary things.
Question: What good things at Christmas most often takes your focus off the GREAT things of Christmas? Would you consider removing it completely as your Christmas act of worship?
A mere three weeks separates Christmas from being another memory. When January comes, how will you evaluate Christmas 2016? As recipients of God’s greatest gift, we must have a different scorecard than the one calculating: gifts given, meals eaten, and naps taken.
I fully believe that Christmas Clutter is Satan’s primary means of distracting us from giving God the worship He deserves. May 2016 be the year you lay aside all the cluttered distractions and begin evaluating Christmas by your focus upon Jesus – God’s promised gift and humanity’s greatest.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1-2)
I pray this helps you grow in your love for Christ, His Church, and His Mission!