Don’t Miss Christmas

        The Lord has put something on my heart this year that I hope may be valuable in your life and family. God’s desire for your Christmas this year is that you Encounter the Living One, Encourage the Hurting One, and Evangelize the Lost One.

God’s plan is all about PRESENCE – being there for Him, there for those that are hurting, and available to the lost.

         But Satan also has a plan for you this Christmas, and it is all about ABSENCE. Our enemy desires that we be distracted, discouraged, and that the name of Jesus be diminished.
         Luke 10:38-42 provides a great snapshot of the two available options. Verse 39 is the picture of an encounter with the Living One. Mary is still before the Lord. She is surrendered before the Lord. She is silent before the Lord. But notice the contrast in verse 40. Rather than being still, Martha was moving so fast she couldn’t focus on Jesus. Rather than being at his feet, she was on her feet out of touch with His will. Rather than listening for Jesus’ instructions, she was telling Jesus what He needed to do. Our Christmas will either look more like verse 39 or more like verse 40.
         There are at least 5 ways that Satan will attempt to cause you and your family to miss Christ this Christmas. The first is your

calendar. It is the tyranny of the urgent, and if we aren’t careful we will have time for everything except Jesus. The second is cash. There are additional expenses this time of year in an already tight budget. The third is criticism. Notice that Martha criticizes her sister in front of Jesus. Mary must have gotten the point by Martha’s huffing and puffing how she was feeling. If you are not careful you will allow the expectations of others or the criticism of others completely control your Christmas and you will make everyone happy except for The Lord. The fourth is change. It could be that your family is dealing with a divorce or the lost of a loved one, but either way the family table will look different this year. The fifth is culture. It’s very subtle and sneaky. Did you realize that out of the top 20 Christmas songs you will hear on the radio this year, that only 2 mention the name of Jesus? If we are not careful we can very easily replace the Nativity with Nostalgia, replace the Savior with a Season, and Replace the Holy for a mere Holiday.

         So, how can we avoid missing Christ this Christmas? How can we spend our Christmas in verse 40 and not verse 39? While I am certainly no expert, let me suggest a few ideas.First, “Just say NO”. Come on, you can do it I promise. Don’t overcommit this year. Second, “Spend Less”. How many times do we spend money we don’t have on gifts they don’t need for people we don’t like? We know it’s not God’s will to go into debt at Christmas. Don’t do it. It will be the gift that keeps giving all of next year. Third, “Get over it”. You can’t please everyone so stop trying. If you can look into the mirror and you have pleased the Lord – you have been faithful. Mary had to ignore Martha in order to please Jesus. You may have to do the same. Fourth, “Focus on what you have left”. Satan would have you and I to focus on what we don’t have, what we used to have, or what someone else has. God would have us focus on what we still have left. By no means am I saying – Forget about someone. I’m just saying – that person would not want you to miss this Christmas in grief but would want you to enjoy this Christmas with those still around the table. Fifth, Make the Decision. This Christmas, I REFUSE to allow my calendar, cash, criticism, change, or culture cause me to miss my CHRIST!