Christmas Time Is Here

Celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, is a wonderful time in our church year.  But it is hard, even for Christians, to not get sucked into the consumer mentality of the holidays and to make this season more about me (us) than Him.  This should not surprise us - this is what we do with most things - we make them all about us.  We look at life, relationships, even our church life asking the questions - Am I happy; Am I enjoying this; Am I content; Am I getting anything out of this.  

In some sense there is a time to ask some of these questions (I say some, not all).  But I am not sure that as we evaluate things we should make these kinds of questions our first concern.  When we do we neglect God's greater concern for two more important factors - namely His Glory and Others.  Scripture regularly encourages us to address our hearts when it comes to WHY we do things or for WHO we are really doing them for.  But rarely (or perhaps never) does the Bible focus its attention on whether or not we are content, happy or satisfied.  

God wants us to be focussed first on Him - is God satisfied.  God calls us to be hoy as he is holy so I would assume since that is not true of most of us all the time, it would be safe to say that he is not completely satisfied with our actions.  But the Bible also directs our attention to the needs of others, consistently and often at the expense for our concern for our own needs.  It is not that our needs are not important but that God wants us to look to him (or others by him) to meet our needs instead of us trying to manipulate things to get our needs met.  

When you come to church - are you asking what will I learn, what will I feel, what will I do or are you concerned whether or not God is praised by what is said or with what you can help others with in their walk with Christ?  It may not feel natural to put others before ourselves but that is exactly the example we have from Jesus and one that he wants us to put on full display for others to see as well.  

[3] Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. [4] Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. [5] Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 2:3-5 ESV)

This next year - turn the focus off of you (what you feel, want, desire, love, etc.) and instead turn the focus back on God and others (how can I love God, how can I worship God, how can I love others, how can I serve others) - what you will find is that your joy will be full and God will miraculously meet the needs you no longer made paramount because you have made him paramount and others more important than yourself.