MATTHEW 6:31-34: “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: Beware of the “Holiday Worries”! As I read these verses this morning in my living room, praying and preparing for the first Sunday in Advent, Christmas tree decorated by the fireplace, I am faced with the question – “Am I free from the ‘Holiday Worries’?
I don’t know about you, but the day after Thanksgiving everything seems to go into hyperdrive. There are special events at church, special events with family, special events for work. All of these require planning and time. There are lights to still put up outside, presents to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, cards to send. And every year I know that this is not the reason for the season. And every year I tell myself – “This year will be different” – “This year I will slow down and enjoy the celebration of Christmas, rather than getting caught up into the vortex of its’ activities.”
In the midst of this challenge, these words from the Sermon on the Mount give me perspective. Jesus says emphatically – “Therefore do not worry!” For sake of illustration, I will take some liberties and put the next phrases in the context of the season. Don’t worry about…
“What food we are going to cook for Christmas dinner.”
“What celebrations we will or will not go to.”
“Whether I need a new shirt or outfit for the Christmas party.”
“What present I should get for (fill in the blank).”
“Who I should send the Christmas cards to this year”
“When I will get all the decorations up.”
And the list could go on and on. No, Jesus reminds us – “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these will be added unto you.” I think Jesus enjoys it when His children enjoy the celebration of His birthday! I think Jesus wants us to see His life in everything we do to celebrate this season. However, I think Jesus wants us to keep our focus on the reason we celebrate, and the reason He came. In reality, it has nothing to do with any of the things that cause us to worry about the season. It is about His Kingdom. It is about His righteousness. It is about putting Him before everything else.
Jesus is the reason for the season! Jesus Is! It is easy to remove “Christ” from Christmas, even as Christians. We do this when we put other things before our celebration of Him. He came first and foremost to deliver us from the power of darkness and, through faith, tranfer us into the Kingdom of His Marvelous Light! He came to seek and save the lost. He came to deliver us from the worry of everyday living that is focused on the temporal, and becomes a prisoner of the urgent. He came to give us life and peace.
When the angels proclaimed – “…Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11 NKJV), they were not thinking about the great deals available during Black Friday. They were not directing the shepherds toward the local Christmas tree lot or store to stock up on the latest decorations. They were not calling the shepherds to the local Christmas party to celebrate. They were calling the shepherds to the Savior, to Christ the Lord.
This year Lord, deliver me from the “worry” of the season. Realign my focus upon Jesus. Let me seek first Your Kingdom and righteousness. And as I do, let me see Jesus in every symbol, sparkle, and celebration of the season. If all the cards don’t get sent on time, let me celebrate and pray for the friends who were to receive them. If I can’t find the perfect present, let me give of myself and my time. If I cannot make every celebration, let me find moments to share God’s love with others and to wish them a Merry Christmas. In all that I do – let me celebrate Jesus!
In Jesus Name!