Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
It’s true, but it begins to sound trite after a few hundred Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails, doesn’t it? Seriously. Do I really need three reminders from just one of the big box retailers, much less 10 of them?
In a culture of commercialism, it’s easy to quickly lose focus on the main thing that Christmas is all about. How do we remain focused and protect our hearts from the cynicism and materialism that are so rampant in our environment?
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” ~ John 15:1-4
All those emails and ads and shiny things everywhere? Well, they aren’t inherently bad. They can be nagging distractions however. Let’s face it. You know as well as I do that we humans are suckers for a good distraction.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you.
This weekend at church I was prompted to ask myself the question, “What traditions and activities at this time of year allow me to remain closer to God?” That naturally leads to the follow up question, “Which activities pull me away from that relationship leaving me…well,… feeling like I missed something wonderful?” We all go into this time of year wanting the wonderful, but do we always manage to get it?
What if getting something wonderful means letting go of a few things?Remain...in a culture of busyness and distractions we can choose to abide in hope.Click To Tweet
That question really is the heart of the matter, isn’t it? We don’t like to admit it, however. We like to feel like we have all of our reindeer in a row this time of year.
In preparing for this month’s theme I looked up the word “remain” so I could have a true definition in my mind and heart about where my middle places were with this word. Merriam Websters defines it these two ways.
1. to be left when the other parts are gone or have been used
2. to be something that still needs to be done, dealt with
This is a great time of year to find some quiet with God and ask him to cut back some of those parts of you that are used up. Just like we prune the unwanted branches of our Christmas trees, we can ask Him to pull away the distractions that keep us from allowing this time of year to grow us instead letting wild limbs ruin the beautiful tree He is growing.
What can you do this year to remain focused on Jesus?