It is clear that our world dictates success by how high you climb the corporate ladder, how big your home is, what car you drive, which prestigious school your children go to……and the list goes on… It is easy for our children to learn at a very early age from their greatest teachers, their parents, what is “most important”….materialism. Having to have the name brand clothes, the I phone, a colorful ipod, a sassy laptop computer and the list goes on….. It is a vicious cycle. Our Lord warns about it in scripture..”Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God-what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.” Romans 12:2-3
We are doing our children an injustice by giving them so much. The more we give to them the more they expect. In turn, they will become selfish, spoiled, unhappy children. The Lord calls us to live a life of simplicity and teach our children the greatest path to happiness….to love and follow Him. Jesus is humble, gentle, selfless, and simple. Our king was born in a barn to a poor mother and father. We have such a humble example in Christ and why does our world continue to be so prideful and materialistic?
We are all on the journey together trying to find the key to happiness. We are all told money and materialism will bring us contentment but any wealthy person will tell you that once they finally reached the top of the ladder and had everything they worked so hard for, they yearned for the simple times again. They say the happiest years of their lives were the “hard times” of barely having enough money to pay bills and having a small home where love blossomed and their family began. The only thing they had was faith and LOVE and that was enough. Scripture says. ”Command those who are rich in the things of this life not to be proud but to place their hope, not in such an uncertain thing as riches, but in God who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life. Timothy 6:17-20
When you free yourself from trying to keep up with the Jones’ and stop worrying so much about having to have a living room straight out of Pottery Barn or trying to keep up with the absolute latest fashions, your heart and mind become free. It is a freedom that comes from no where else then Heaven. When you begin to live for the Spirit as Christ tells us to do and stop living for the ways of the world, your heart becomes joyful and
unbelievably peaceful. “So then, we must always aim at those things that bring peace and that help strengthen one another.” Romans 14:19
It is a war out there…..Satan is trying to constantly clutter your mind and heart with the ways of the world telling you “you have to get a bigger home….” Or “what are your friends going to say if you buy the car that is more affordable but NOT cool” or “are you really going to wear that skirt AGAIN…you need to go shopping and get a new wardrobe…just put it on the credit card and pay it off later….” And on the other side is a sweet whisper from Jesus telling us “you look so beautiful today my sweet daughter” or “your family loves your little cozy home….how beautiful your children’s spirits are growing in such a loving environment” or “you don’t need a new couch, yours is just fine…especially through these potty training years” or “two presents are more than enough for your children…they will be filled with joy!” This is a constant battle going on in our minds and the media and our surroundings does not help one bit with trying to live for the spirit. But if you turn away from the world and all of the things Satan is saying to you and turn to Jesus, you will be energized and excited to see the world around you in a whole different way.
These next four weeks, let’s focus on our blessings and be content in the things that we already have. “Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have.” Hebrews 13:5-6 Clear out the clutter of your home…things you really don’t NEED and give it away. It is the best therapy! Embrace Jesus this Christmas Season and be at Peace in your hearts and minds. Buy simple sweet gifts for the ones you have to buy gifts for but don’t break the bank. LESS IS MORE……I just love that saying! Most importantly, love on your children and your husband and be together as a family as much as possible….that is the greatest gift we can give our children this holiday season.
The Forgotten Sacrifices of Mary
As we are stressed out in the next four weeks about all of the gifts we have to buy and thinking we have to have the PERFECT Christmas for our children, let’s reflect back to Mary being in her last month of pregnancy.. We all know how unbelievably hard that last month is. You can barely move, walk, and sleep. To think of what Mary endured will sure make us count our blessings and realize how silly we can be with the little things we get so worked up over!
When Mary was nine months pregnant she……
- Slept on a dirt floor
- Rode a donkey from
to Jerusalem Bethlehem
- She and Joseph camped outside every night while on their journey in the freezing cold
- And when scripture says “she delivered her firstborn..” I can’t help but think of how hard and LONG the delivery of your firstborn is, and all the while in a barn with no epidural
- How big did she tear & who stitched her up?
- Did her nipples hurt like he_ _ when she nursed Jesus?
- When the angel appeared to Joseph and told him they had to flee, how in tar nation did she ride a donkey just a few hours after giving birth?
We “modern day Mary’s” can’t imagine! All of this was a complete sacrifice to bring Christ to save us. When you reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and the sacrifices Mary and Joseph went through for us, it is disgusting to think of what the world has turned Christmas into…..a stressful, shop- till- you drop fiasco! And if shopping the entire Christmas season is not enough…..what do we do? We go shopping the day AFTER Christmas! For sales, returns, exchanges….. Enough is never enough.
The Modern Day Martha & Mary
I am sure all of you are familiar with the bible story about Martha and Mary. “As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him in her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to his teaching. Martha was upset over all the work she had to do, so she came and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me! The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things, but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-41
The story of Mary and Martha I thought was most appropriate for our topic today. Before we depart today and go into the busyness of the season, I wanted everyone to have a visual in their minds on the kind of person we DON’T want to be this holiday season. As the world tells us we need to be a Martha, Jesus tells us true happiness and eternal rewards lies in the character of Mary. As we are all rushing around this Christmas season, buying gifts and marking off our long, stressful check list, I hope each one of us can stop and take a deep breathe and ask ourselves, “Am I being a Martha?” Let’s now check out the different “To Do Lists” between the modern day Martha and the modern day Mary.
So as you leave today, promise me one thing. You will look up at the sky, take a deep breathe and hand this Christmas season over to Jesus. Hand over the stress of your Christmas cards you have to get out. Hand over the worries of how you will afford to buy everyone Christmas presents. Hand over your frustrations of your in-laws coming to visit. Listen closely and you might here a sweet voice whispering …. “Be Still and Know that I AM GOD.”
Now go on with your busy self and chill out, have a glass of wine and enjoy the reason for the season!