In most Christian churches, today is recognized as the first Sunday in the Advent season, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. This is a time of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth.
Believers use these weeks to review the events that led up to Christ’s coming and to center our thoughts on him.
From the hysterical scavenger hunt of Black Friday to the glut of second-rate Santa-themed entertainment, the marketplace and sentimental traditions make it increasingly difficult to put Christ in the center of our thoughts and activities, and walking on eggshells to avoid offending non-believers only makes it worse.
The renowned theologian, Oswald Chambers, had a way of cutting through distractions and coming straight to the point with his messages to Christians. In the daily devotional adapted from his “My Utmost for His Highest”, the reading for November 27 gives us the remedy for observing a meaningful Christmas in our times.
We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration of our spiritual power. Consecration (being dedicated to God’s service) is our part; sanctification (being set apart from sin and being made holy) is God’s part. We must make a deliberate determination to be interested only in what God is interested. The way to make that determination, when faced with a perplexing problem, is to ask yourself, “Is this the kind of thing in which Jesus Christ is interested, or is it something in which the spirit that is diametrically opposed to Jesus is interested?”
As we make our plans and write our “to do” lists this year, if we apply that test to our own Christmas activities it may become clear just where we need to expend our energies and which things are better forgotten.
Wishing each one who reads this a Consecrated Christmas of peace and joy.