So let’s see: we’ve tackled the Hamster Wheel of Christmas Chaos(Day 1)
Are we good? Have we redeemed Christmas yet?
Folks, I’m not sure if we will ever truly redeem the world’s version of Christmas: Santa, excess and stress seems to be the expected norm and the reasons people love or hate the season. That makes me sad. But I’m putting on my big girl panties and trudging forward in my quest to redeem this season for the Glory of God, not the glory of myself. If we’re going to redeem it, we’re going to have to become the hands and feet of Jesus….literally.
Perhaps one of the most talked about and stressed about components to Christmas is the increase in parties,gatherings, concerts and obligations. Mothers seem to bear the brunt of it with kids in school pageants, choir concerts, recitals, end of year parties, outings, bake sales and gift exchanges. Sewing costumes, baking cookies, buying gifts, planning meals, cleaning for guests, packing for trips~~ all have to be managed, arranged and fit into a few weeks on the calendar. No wonder most of us are so exhausted after Christmas that flues and colds run rampant. Are you ready to redeem your calendar this Christmas? Do you want to take what the world is giving you and send it where the sun don’t shine? (grammatical error intentional)
I’m sure you’ve heard or read this passage many times but you should read it now, again, with eyes that are seeing Christmas as something that must be redeemed from the world’s version of doing good, being good, and having a *Merry Christmas*:
Matthew 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fireprepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
These are Jesus’ words and I can’t think of anything more appropriate to give us perspective on what our calendars should be filled with. We’re the hands and feet of Jesus. He gave us this mandate. He has commissioned us. And as harsh as it may sound, He has told us clearly what will happen to those who do not love in His name. In this passage the ‘religious folk’ thought they were doing all the right things. Being all righteous and holy takes time a work. After all , the church must look festive and the Christmas concert must be practiced. The gifts won’t just buy and wrap themselves and the work parties are so important in order to get that upcoming promotion. Lies. All lies.
If you want your calendar to be balanced then it will be heavily unbanlanced in favour of serving the needs of the *least of these*. HEAVILY UNBALANCED.
When you are planning your parties, invite the ones who can’t afford the new dress or bring a plate of baking.
When you go to that ballet or concert, invite the friend who won’t be able to go unless you pay for her ticket because her husband just left her.
When you organize that cookie exchange, get your friends and neighbours to make an extra bag of their tastiest treats and deliver them to your local women’s or homeless shelter.
When you dress up your kids for their school concert, make a stop at your local retirement home and let the little ones sing Away in a Manger for those who likely haven’t seen a little child sing in many years. Their hearts will be warmed.
And when you’re out shopping and scurrying about to make all those treats and meals for your own privileged and blessed family, have some treat bags of hot cocoa, coffee gift cards, candy canes and a special message for those folks on the street, at the gas station or the tired mom in line in front of you. Bless them in Jesus’ name.
Unbalance your calendar. Ask the Lord to show you who, when and where to give. Ask Him and He will answer. I guarantee it.
And heads up; plan for extra folks at your Christmas dinner table~if you ask, they will come. 😉