We live in a “PC” world. Oftener and oftener the Christian’s worldview is shushed in deference to the agenda of the moment. My husband and I were talking just this week about the big divide we’ve seen this holiday season. Currently there is a media-driven rebellion against wishing someone a “Merry Christmas,” even though the malls are packed with Christmas shoppers and Amazon is busily delivering packages in time for Christmas morning. “Happy Holidays” is the new trend and to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” is unbelievably considered offensive.
The thing is, what is considered “PC” is ever-changing. It’s tough to keep your finger on the popular pulse at any given moment these days. I think that’s why the response of both the angels and the shepherds of the nativity stand out to me so much this year in particular –
Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!” vv 13-14
the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. v 20
These last few days of the season, I want to challenge myself to live expressively in light of Emmanuel (“God with us”), the One for whom Christmas was named. I want to live uncensored in my praise of Him. I want my words and actions to express my beliefs. Like the angels and shepherds, I want glorify Him in an expressive way, that those around me may know the reason for the season by what I say and do.
On that note, I wish each of you a heartfelt Merry Christmas!
Simon and I are practicing something new this Thanksgiving season, a variation of an idea I found here.
During the the entire month of November, we are paying closer attention to all the little things our kids are doing that are “praiseworthy” (like holding the door for someone, taking the garbage out unasked, remembering to use good manners, holding their tongue when treated harshly, or any number of other character qualities we want to encourage in our next generation). Each time we witness such an act, we are writing about it on a fall-colored sticky note and sticking it to their bedroom doors when they aren’t looking. (Example: “I was so thankful when I saw you offer to help the man in the wheelchair get a refill of his soda at Sam’s today.” True story. Cue Mom tears.)
Seems simple enough, I know, but I confess that I am too quick to point out the negative while being too slow to praise the positive. And a month focused on thankfulness seems like the proper place to change that pattern, don’t you think? After all, we are encouraged in Philippians 4:8 to do this very thing…
“whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable – if there is any moral excellence or if there is any praise – dwell on these things.”
How are you shifting your focus to one of thanksgiving for the little things this season? Please share your creative ideas (or links) in the comments.
I have known both Mary & Martha all of my life. I have always thought of Martha as the poor, misunderstood, responsible sister of the lazy, irresponsible Mary. I always felt that I could relate to Martha, that I understood where she was coming from in doing all the necessary things one does when one offers hospitality. I “got” her irritation with Mary, who was just sitting there doing nothing. I felt the sting of Jesus’ words as if He’d spoken them to me when He gently chastised her and praised lazy Mary.
After spending a week with Mary, connecting with and understanding her like I never have before, my entire perception of her changed. And I mean completely and utterly changed. I wondered if I’d had it wrong all these years where Martha was concerned, as well, so I asked Martha for some one-on-one time and she graciously invited me to spend a week with her in Bethany.
I still share a lot of commonalities with Martha. I have a do-er personality. I have a keen sense of duty, of doing the “right” thing (even if it is too often accompanied with the wrong attitude). I get upset with others when they don’t do what I think they should. My sense of justice oftentimes leads me to ask the Lord to make things right when I feel I’ve been wronged by someone, to take my grievance directly to Him.
Against the newly painted backdrop of her sister, Martha’s shortcomings (and my own!) shine brighter than before. But like the saying goes, We learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. (Can I get an “Amen!”?) And tucked amid all of the character flaws that we share, Martha displayed something that I feel shamefully lacking in my own life – a beautiful, teachable heart.
Listening to her testimony again, I realized that Martha didn’t repeat the same mistake twice. I want to have such a teachable heart! I want to receive His Words to me and have them “stick” like that. I want to respond to His chastening as quickly and wholeheartedly as Martha did. I want to be sensitive to His teaching. I want to be changed by obeying His Word. I want to share that positive character trait with Martha, as well.
If your heart desires the same, I invite you to visit Martha in Bethany this week. Click here to spend some one-on-one time with Martha of Bethany.
O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! – Psalm 34:8
At the beginning of our adventure in home schooling, we took a dip into the homeschool community by attending a potluck dinner for families interested in joining a particular home school group. Wanting our elementary-aged kids to exercise their social muscles, we sent them ahead of us to go through the line while we found a table and got the little ones settled. When our son made his way to our table, he had an entire to-go box of fried rice in his hands and a smile on his face. I asked him what he could possibly have been thinking in taking the entire dish for himself. He replied, “I’m hungry.”
I look back on this story now with a smile on my face instead of the embarrassment I felt in the moment. I question my choices when I feel spiritual hunger. In his hunger, my son went straight for the good stuff, unashamedly taking what was offered at the table, and he found satisfaction.
PONDER: Do I approach my quiet time like my son approached that potluck? What is keeping me from bellying up to God’s table, fork in hand, to feast on His Word today?
PRAYER: Father, I want to take refuge in You in the busy-ness of my days. So many things are vying for my attention. Help me to be ambitious when I open my Bible, ready to feast on Your Word every day. My heart desires to taste and see that you are good today.