The Revelation of ELNovember 4, 2023
Candles & IncenseDecember 28, 2023
I struggle to stay close to God in December.
- I’m doggedly gathering Christmas lists from family
- searching Amazon for the best quality and value
- placing and tracking multiple orders
- checking texts and emails which can DOMINATE my days
- organizing at least one Christmas-giving project for underprivileged children
- managing donations toward it and figuring out budgets
- shopping for kids I don’t know, and fretting over whether I’m getting the right things
- hosting gatherings of my home group and family
- hiking up and down the stairs to get decorations out of the attic
- adjusting lights and ornaments on trees inside and on shrubs in the yard
- attempting to send out Christmas cards, but never getting to them
- wondering when and if I’ll get the gifts wrapped
- and … imagining a Norman Rockwell Christmas at my home but looking more like Picasso’s Guernica.
During the month when I should find it easiest to worship, distractions and exhaustion often zap me! I love the beautiful lights, the Christmas carols, the family gatherings, and the giving of gifts, especially to the least-of-these. These wonderful facets of the season bring joy and blessing. But, as Jesus gently told his distracted friend, Martha, “Only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part.” (Luke 10:42)
Only one thing.
Of everything Jesus ever said, this profound statement has become a beacon of my faith-walk. The goal toward which I press in my daily living.
I can do so many good things, so many Christian things, and so many worthwhile things; but nothing will ever be more valuable than enjoying the presence of Jesus and worshipping at His feet.
To remain close to Jesus, some things will go undone. At no better time than December do I see the truth of these words.
But the good news is that the drift is stoppable.
The distractions cancelable.
The drive for perfection mitigatable.
However, you can only cease the busyness that wants to enslave you through intentional, committed, daily worship of Jesus.
And you can start now!
Confess to God that urgent things have crowded out the more important. Confess that the tendency to drift away from Him is a formidable temptation during the holidays.
Ask Him to help you keep worship a priority every day.
Then read to Him (page 63, The Priority of Worship).
Read Isaiah 9:6-7 to God.
“It’s one of the greatest compliments for a teacher to hear his student read back to him something He wrote. Something meaningful, impactful, and that made a difference in the student’s life.”
As you read this Old Testament prophecy, ascribe to Him the power of His name, “Mighty God!” (verse 6)
Claim for yourself today the peace that comes only from the “Prince of Peace.” (verse 6)
Praise Him for being your King, and that “He upholds His Kingdom with justice and righteousness forever.” (verse 7)
If December brings challenges in your worship rhythms and spiritual centering, then you can course-correct at any time.
Just take a few still moments. And turn your heart completely to God.
Thank Him for being present with you always. And that His mercies are NEW every morning.
As you get serious about “the one thing” that matters, everything else will fall into place.