Saturday, December 3, 2016

It's that time of year when...

...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.

be blessed,


Phil Poggeaux said...

Thank you Jenny - lots and lots to ponder here in this post. I got a bit of a lump in my throat reading this....I have to go and figure out why now.

janice15 said...

A lovely post Jenny. I have been doing just this. I haven't celebrated Christmas for some time due to past religion i was in. But it is to my belief that Jesus was birn on Christmas but another time of year. The world has made this concept.. I'm excited to put up small decor for Christmas. But are staying focused on our Lord Jesus Christ. Yeaterday I purchased a new Bible kjv. Which I have never had... So I started reading in Genesis and are on chapter 11, tonight I will read some more and intend to finish this book and jump over to the book og John and start reading it next. Thank you for this post. Have a lovely weekend with love Janice

Allie-oops Designs said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely post my darlin' girl - the Christmas rush is so not about Christ, it's named for him but has nothing to do with him anymore. I hate it....and you have the perfect solution. Love the word picture about cream on your face - with me it's mostly egg. *G* Love you.

Ɓgueda said...

Dear Jenny: Your words shake the conscience. Maybe my face is so full of cream ...
My grandmother told me her Christmas gift was chocolate and scones.
My mother received a box of marzipan.
I always had a toy or a book.
My daughter receives true wonders from all her uncles, because she is the only young girl in the family.
It is good to see that the generations increase comfort and ease of life, but, We increase also in the Important things of the life ?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Jenny, I love how you share your walk of life. It was ..... well, at least fifteen years ago when I felt convicted to not keep Christmas anymore. It is not in the Eternal's way of life, which I am learning to walk. It has been amazing for me to experience, year after year, the sentimental forces that hold us! These days, it is a simple, quiet relief that I can get on with what I see as the important things in my life. The biblical appointed times, for us, are a much more simple, highly meaningful time. The Rock is everything to us, and Christ's atonement for us.

Thanks again,
Rachel Holt

Slrw said...

Thank you so much for this, I needed it. It is always a struggle for me at this time of year. I need to focus on the reason for the season - Jesus Christ!

Brenda said...

Good Morning Jenny! Such a special message you have delivered to us this morning. It always saddens my heart that so many miss the true meaning of Christmas and like you have said go out and spend, spend, spend. In the past few years, I have tried to go back in time and present my family and friends with gifts that are hand made with the heart and sadly they are not being met with much love and happiness as I had hoped. I see their eyes delight with these expensive gifts that they do not really need. Yet, I feel the joy and delight in making them and giving them and the time I spend with God while I do these things is the most important of all. Thank you Jenny for sharing and have a fantastic creative day!

barcord said...

Thank you Jenny. As usual you encourage us to sit at the feet of Jesus. Where better to be as we prepare to celebrate his birth.

Susan said...

Amen and amen Jenny. What makes me really sad is the number of churches that have Christmas pageants and then bring in Santa Claus at the end to hand out gifts to the kids. We are giving kids mixed messages of what Christmas is all about. Although Advent isn't "biblical", I still enjoy the practice of it which are those things you mentioned in your post. I have several Advent devotionals that I read each year to keep me focused on what is important about the season--Jesus coming into the world in order to be our salvation.

My husband and I don't participate in "forced" gift exchanges at work or other places. We believe in giving all year to those in need. About 10 years ago, my siblings, their families, and us decided to forgo purchased gift exchanges. We have two different gift exchanges that are purely voluntary. One, is what we call a "garage sale" gift exchange and the other is what we call "something you make yourself" gift exchange. These are so much more fun than having to pick out and purchase the perfect gift and hope the person likes it. With our version of gift giving, there are no expectations to have to live up to and we certainly don't go into debt, nor do we have to go out and deal with the crowds and all that goes with that.

Lesley UK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jenny. I borrowed your first two paragraphs as the opening of an e-mail letter I wrote to some of my church sisters this morning. These are the ones whose visits I supervise to other church sisters. Supervise, as in encourage all month and then take the return and report information. It fit so well with my own thoughts about this month. How easy it is to be pulled away from true good and compassion and love into busyness and forgetting what is important. I appreciate your sharing these thoughts today.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Dear Lesley UK,
Honey, I am a Christian before I am anything else, and it is the gift of God alone that has allowed me to design.
If my love for Jesus and my heartfelt desire to share His message through my blog offends or disturbs you it is easy for you to avoid the weekend devotionals I share, or the Scripture based designs with accompanying blog can see by the first photo that they will be focused on my faith and my Lord.
This is *my* blog, it is my web journal of my life, and the most integral part of my life is Jesus...everything else is extra.
Thank you for the lovely words of delight you find in my embroidery patterns, but please, understand that your beliefs are yours to share on your own web space, and I respect that. My beliefs are mine to share on my web space and I ask that you respect my choice in doing so.


Lesley UK said...

Jenny, thank you for your kind reply. As you will have realised I removed my comment earlier today. You have my sincere apologies, and I hope I will still be welcome to your blog. I had just received some very upsetting news, but that is no excuse. I'm so sorry. I hoped I had removed it before you had a chance to read it. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt you. Blessings

Unknown said...

Thanks jenny much to consider and take hold of, Lyn

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Dearest Lesley, you are always, always, welcome. {{{{{{{hugs}}}}}} xxxx