...our minds are scattered, we have much to do, the Christmas to-do list lengthens and the budget needs some serious attention. The radio, television and advertising flyers in our mailboxes 'scream' for us to spend, spend, spend so we can have a 'happy' festive season and that hype drives too many into mental and financial meltdown.
December truly has become a retailer's heaven, but a consumer's nightmare.
The birth of our Saviour, though in truth not even close to December 25th, was once a day to stop and consider the glorious wonder of God made flesh among us. It was a day revered and honoured, not for people or food or presents, but for Jesus and He alone.
The gift giving side of Christmas was small in comparison to now, most children receiving one or two gifts and it was unheard of for families to go into debt for them.
It saddens me that a generation have now grown up without the simple beauty and wonder of the Christmas from my own childhood, and I wonder at the next generation and what Christmas will become to them in another decade?
Last night as my husband and I drove through the city we commented on how busy it was. Traffic was congested, shops, restaurants, hotels...all were overflowing with people coming and going. The busyness was not usual, it was the December busyness and it will become more so over the next few weeks.
This was heavy on my heart as I opened God's Word this morning, this seasonal busyness that once had the 'appearance' of being about the birth of Jesus, in reality has not much to do with Him at all. If anything it's robbing hearts and minds from spending time with Him because it's filling hours with the rushing and the planning and the buying and the list writing and the wrapping and the reveling that's associated with this season. There's a lot of 'doing for' Christmas, but not much of being with the Christ of Christmas.
And one very big thing hit me as I began to pray for my own heart to be drawn closer to Jesus this December.
Self examination, confession and repentance.
How easy to forget this when life is too full?
So I pulled up my chair and prepared for a long time of self-examination with the Holy Spirit because one thing I know for sure - it's not easy to see my own sin. Just like I can see cream on my husband's cheek when he's been eating cake but cannot see it on my own unless he points it out to me, I need the Holy Spirit's help to point out the sin in my life that I am blind to see.
This isn't a 5-minute fix, either. It takes time, it means letting go of my to-do list and my 'would rather be doing right now' list, and putting God first. It means realising that if I am going to walk in a right attitude with God and man, I need to have my heart corrected by the only One who can do it perfectly because He loves me perfectly.
More than ever, we need a time of self-examination, repentance, confession and FORGIVENESS when life is pulling us in too many directions and keeping us so busy that we forget to be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus.
This is my encouragement for you today.
Close the door, close your eyes, look at Jesus.
Get right with Him because when you've done that, He'll get you through everything else.