Survival during the holidays

Survival during the holidays

Repost from Advent 2016

This last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent which comprises the four Sundays before Christmas and proclaims and celebrates God coming into the world by the birth of Jesus Christ (Christ is the Greek title for messiah; Advent means arrival.)

Arguably Jesus is the most influential person to ever walk earth. His life was congruent and his mission was clear. We believe Jesus came to fulfill God’s promises to bless all families on earth. (Genesis 12:2-3) Jesus confirmed this in word and deed. (John 10:7-11; John 21:25)

Every day we struggle to fulfill our mission and overcome barriers to living a fulfilling life. We struggle to meet the real or perceived expectations we feel from others. In fact, during Advent it may seem like you have more struggles than usual because it’s this time of year when we put pressure on ourselves to find the right gift for everyone on our shopping list. Merry Christmas feels more like manic Christmas! Amy Grant sings, I need a silent night, a holy night, To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise, I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here, To end this crazy day with a silent night. What’s the antidote? Humility. It re-aligns us to reality and right-sizes expectations. Humility allows us to simplify.

Humility is letting go of the pressure to perform. Living to please and impress others is a sure pathway to depression! Humility frees us up to simply be, as in being present to God. Humility begins in his presence. Not my will but yours be done, is what Jesus said and it’s what we need to say. Be still and know that I am God, is what the Lord says to us. We stop expecting perfection of ourselves that belongs alone to God. Humility allows us to serve God and others with what we have. We humbly bring our gifts.

Jesus humbled himself to fulfill his mission and that’s what he wants us as disciples to do. Humility reminds us of our absolute need for God’s absolute love and grace. Humility makes us teachable and motivates us to serve God no matter what. Humility is not false pride but trust in God’s promises.

Jesus overcame barriers to fulfill his mission and he helps us overcome barriers. We emulate Jesus to fulfill our mission. Emulating him means receiving him and believing that God is at work through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith brings us into a personal relationship with God. It involves learning his Word, discerning his ways, doing what he did, and enjoying his presence in our life.

Imagine what it would be like to live in a rhythm of work and rest… doing the things God has empowered and equipped you to do out of the abundance of his abiding presence. It is our calling, our privilege, to serve the world that Jesus is saving.

In very practical ways we become Jesus’ hands and feet in the world. We bless others not to impress them but to demonstrate God’s love and compassion for them. This advent season be renewed and refreshed by walking in his grace and living in his love. I like the way Leonard Cohen described it: Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. Reflect the light Jesus shines on you!

What are you overcoming to do that? Laziness, fear, fatigue, pride, insecurity, selfishness, pain? What are you struggling with right now? That’s the place Jesus will enter your world this Advent.

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