|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The awesome reality of the presence of God”
Our Bible verse for today: “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:4-7 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Are you missing Christmas?”
This past week I committed what is sometimes considered a “foo-poo” (faux pas) for a Pastor. A faux pas can be something that is considered embarrassing or tasteless in a social situation, but it can also be an action that is considered by some to be inappropriate or flat out wrong. My pastoral foo-poo was that I cancelled some church activities for last weekend (I know, I know, you’re gasping in astonished disappointment, but hear me out).
Christmas is always the busiest time of the year. There are decorations to hang, gifts to purchase, cards to send, parties to go to – and that’s just the short list. We’re all busy. Maybe too busy. Last weekend, on the schedule at Oak Hill Baptist, there was a men’s pancake breakfast; a Christmas party for disadvantaged children at a Christian camp we partner with; help a church family move into a new house; a surprise birthday party for someone; Sunday school and worship on Sunday morning; the annual church Christmas party after the service; a Christmas concert in the afternoon; and the Sunday evening Bible study after that. All over the course of just two days!
Whew! Too much! That’s ten pounds of stuff in a five-pound bag. We were splitting the seams! So, I cancelled the men’s breakfast and the Sunday evening Bible study (I make no excuses and I offer no apologies. And honestly, our folks were fine with it. I think they were even glad I did it).
In the Christmas story depicted in Luke chapter two, we find Mary and Joseph traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem to participate in the mandatory census. The entire nation would have been traveling at that time, all of them headed to their ancestral homes, as ordered by Caesar Augustus. That’s why there was no room of them in the inn, and that’s why Jesus ended up being born in a manger instead of in a hotel room.
If you read the story, you find that there would have been crowds of people milling about in that town as Jesus was being born, but the only ones who noticed and appreciated what was happening were the shepherds. Everyone else missed it, even though it was happening right there where they were. Why? Why did they miss it? Were they a bunch of pagans immersed in sinful debauchery? Probably not. Most of them were observant Jews who loved God and did their best to live good lives. But still, they missed the birth of Jesus! Why did that happen? Probably because they were busy and distracted and therefore weren’t paying much attention. They missed the first Christmas because they were too busy with other concerns and activities.
Let that not be true of us. Let’s not get so busy with Christmas, that we miss Christmas. It’s okay, even good, to cancel a few things so you can truly savor and enjoy the ones that truly matter. My question for you this morning is, “How busy are you?” Are you so busy celebrating Christmas, that you just might be missing Christmas?
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