Pastor's Blog

Christmas Choices Posted 12.06.2013

Every year we face the Christmas season.  And every year I’m a sucker for the lights and music and garland and fresh baked cookies.  What’s not to like?  As a kid I remember many Christmas Eve’s when I just couldn’t get to sleep.  I would lie in bed for hours hoping to sleep so the morning would come.  One year, my dad came home from work in dense fog and said that on such a foggy night, he wasn’t sure if you-know-who would be able to bring any gifts.  Yikes, that’s not good.  But I had learned not to believe everything he said.  There was a hint of panic on that Christmas Eve.  But on every night in December I would push back the blinds on my window and gaze the lights hanging from the eaves above my window.  I loved December.


These days I try to make this season about something more than just the lights and decorations.  And this year, I’ve even tried to get the cookies delayed until the rest of the family is home – I can share the calories with more mouths, which should limit my share of the sugar.  But I am more keenly aware than ever that December does not always bring pleasant memories for everybody.  Maybe it’s a childhood memory – or a challenging event this year – or just the struggles of life today.


There are many hardships all around us.  People we know.  Friends of friends.  Family.  You can’t suspend the consequences of sin and the curse for a month just because it’s December.  I am learning to worship and rest in the truth of Christmas, not the emotion of Christmas.  I love the warm fuzzies (and the cookies) that December brings.  But this season is more than a plate full of cookies and glass of milk in which to dunk those tempting morsels.


What I want to learn is to worship God no matter what emotions this month will surface.  Some will struggle.  But they still can choose to worship.  Some will have all their plans carefully enacted.  But they will have to choose to worship.  Some will have all their plans evaporate with a word or and encounter or….whatever.  But, they can still choose to worship.  When life is less than perfect, we can choose to worship.


So the question we face in December is – no matter what has happened this year, no matter what loss or even gain we have experienced – will we choose to worship Jesus?  Well, will we?  Even this morning you face a choice, to forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead, or wallow in your present circumstances.  I want to learn to do less wallowing and more worshiping.  That’s how God can use the difficult seasons of life to develop perseverance. 


Yes, I’m waiting for the cookies this year (patiently).  I love the songs of the season (my iPhone is full of Christmas tunes).  I love the way the church glistens and our voices rise together in worship.  But don’t let that only be emotional – worship from the inside out.  You have that choice.  No matter what.


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