Keeping things in Focus

The sun was setting, the dusk air was heavy with humidity – making it a tad foggy – and we were out hoping to see the deer beginning their nightly routine. Driving through the park to watch the deer at dusk is something that my folks started with my siblings and myself, when we moved to this area. It was now something I was doing with my children. With the 5 of them in the back of the van and Jeff driving slowly, we were all hoping that we could have a chance to see any deer that might be out.

Suddenly, Jeff stopped and pointed – “There, do you see it? Over under that small tree, there is just the top of the deer’s head.” We all strained to see it. As we were watching, the deer took wing and flew off. What Jeff had thought to be a deer, was really the tail feathers of a goose. (?? don’t ask – none of us have figured this out)   😆  To this day, “Wow, look at the deer!” has become a joke about seeing things wrongly.

Over the years, I have found that Christmas is one time of the year that I often end up seeing things wrongly. No matter how I try, I somehow get distracted. My distraction becomes thinking that I need to have the “right” decorations, the “right” food, the “right” activities. SO little of our Christmas celebration should be about things. SO much of it SHOULD be all about Jesus.

This is the time to get really gut (ugly??) honest with ourselves….what is the focus of our holiday season? Is it Jesus? Really? If we don’t bake a single cookie, if we don’t give a single gift, not send a single card, or attend even one single party or family gathering, will the holiday be a washout? Will we struggle with a sense of inadequacy of not doing enough???

Those are hard questions for me. I have to ask them of myself over and over and over again, all season long. Just about the time I think I’m doing well with all this, I suddenly finding myself stressing over a holiday issue. Does it have anything to do with Jesus? Likely the only thing that has to do with Jesus is my really lousy attitude that is accompanying it. 😕   (And that just evidence of my need for His saving Blood!)

For our family, one of the key indicators that we have found is “If this holiday is all about, all FOR Jesus, then what place do others play in it?” If we are truly celebrating the holiday for Him, shouldn’t other people have a key place? If our desire is to honor His birthday, then others must have center stage, as that is how He operated.  (The older I get the more I find how little this life has to do with me.  Isn’t that a bummer?!!  And I was just hoping for Christmas this year, someone was going to give me a gift certificate for a pedicure and a day at the spa, a manicure – you know, a totally ME day.)    😉

There have been too many Christmases where I have been so consumed with my agenda, so consumed with my plans, that it likely would have taken a choir of angels to get me out of my “field” and heading to the stable. My challenge to myself, this year, is to keep my eyes focused on Jesus, seeking Him regularly to find who it is that He has me to minister to this season.  My goal is to NOT let my plans keep me from the ministry that Father has orchestrated in my life.

That and getting a pedicure.  😉

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Comments
3 Responses to “Keeping things in Focus”
  1. Elizabeth says:

    We began doing the Biblical holidays a couple years ago…and that includes Hanukkah…though it is not a required one. The way we have done it, there are readings each night, illustrating how the MESSIAH is the light of the world. It is thought that he was conceived at that time. And one verse in NT tells us that HE celebrated it too (festival of lights is another name). More and more we are trying to get away from the materialism…but it is not easy…family do not like changes sometimes.

  2. myderbe says:

    Hmm . . guess I should start making that list and praying over it. What will we do this year? Probably a whole lot of just being together as a family and reading scripture and singing Christmas carols and hymns. Especially as we pack up and move to a brand-new place. We will have none of the usual church-stuff even — which could end up being really good for us.

  3. javadawn says:

    Elizabeth, we LOVE celebrating Hanukkah. We pull our Menorah and dreidels out and enjoy it every night. Frustratingly enough, at least once during the 8 days we have some major interruption. 😕 SO, somehow we don’t manage to get all the days in.

    We started by doing Passover in our family, went from there to Sabbath, then Hanukkah and piece by piece adding more. They hold so much more meaning to us than the “normal” ones.

    Md, sounds like you are going to have a precious, memory-making holiday. This year is the perfect year to add in being a servant. When you have no normal (I keep on a-usin’ that phrase, I wonder if it means what I think it does?) 😉 holiday stuff going on, it’s so much easier to focus on others.

    I love all the things that the Body does to help us celebrate the birth of Christ, but I will say, it sure can become a distraction to honoring it in my heart. (Contata or play rehearsals, costume fittings/making, writing – doing – usually leaves me too weary for being.)

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