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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Off and Running

“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly;
I do not fight like a man beating the air."
I Corinthians 9:26 NIV

Right after the last piece of pumpkin pie has been devoured and the last turkey sandwich has been gobbled down my brain switches immediately to Christmas preparation. This morning as I stroll through my garden I find myself savoring the last of the beautiful hot pink Camellias. The brisk fall air encourages me to wrap my scarf around my neck a little tighter. This morning the message is clear, it is time to toss the pumpkins and begin to prepare for Christmas. As I began to think about Christmas I also began to struggle with the commercialism that surrounds Christmas and excludes Jesus. In response to my thoughts I bow my head and ask God to show me how he would have me prepare for Christmas.

So as I begin to shop, decorate, bake, entertain, wrap gifts, and mail cards, I will try to simplify my efforts as I prepare for Christmas. I will also look for ways that I might center more on Jesus. It is indeed a shame that this must be a conscious effort, but the noise of our society bombards us with a million alternatives. One of my main resolutions this year is to participate selectively in the many activities, yet find time to be alone with the One whose birthday we celebrate and to spend time meditating upon the events surrounding the birth of Christ. I have found in the past that it is possible to form wonderful Christmas traditions that include Jesus.

All of us are attacked on every front by the commercialism of Christmas. However, it is important to step back and take a deep breath and evaluate all that is on our plate. What will we keep and what must go. Below are some questions that have helped me to pick and choose the way I will spend my time and energy as I prepare for Christmas. I know that I will be running, but I hope that as I run my Christmas marathon it will be with meaning and purpose. Here are some questions to consider.

What can I do to make my Christmas “Quiet Time” special?

How much time am I willing to give to each Christmas project?

How can I enhance my Christmas projects with spiritual significance?

Does this activity bring me joy or frustration?

How can I eliminate the frustration and replace it with joy?

I love Christmas! I look forward to all of the festivities leading up to December 25th. It is an exceptional opportunity for family togetherness and sharing. I am always amazed at the story of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, the appearance of the angels, the humble shepherds, and the simple manner in which God chose for his son to enter our world. I marvel at the forgiveness, obedience and devotion of Joseph, the availability of Mary and her accepting heart. The focused determination of the wise men was amazing as they searched for the star. Last but never least, what about the music of Christmas? Oh… how I love the music of Christmas! I pray that this year you will join me as we embrace the Christmas season with spiritual thoughtfulness and eternal purpose.


Today’s questions are found in the body of this week’s devotional. Please take time to consider each question prayerfully. God is able to inspire and direct your steps as you prepare for the birthday of his Son.


Dear Jesus,

Christmas is a beautiful time of year. I joyfully look forward to celebrating your birth. Help me Jesus to be very intentional this year, as I endeavor not to overload on meaningless activities and push you aside. May I put you first and seek to know your heart and mind for me as I plan a special Christmas that will bring joy to my family and glory to you.

In Your Name I pray. Amen.