Our pastor was talking last Sunday about how hard it is to see the true meaning of Christmas in this day and time. From Times Square signage bought by American Atheists proclaiming that no one needs CHRIST this Christmas to the movies that talk only of elves and romance and presents, it looks as though Christ is being blocked out of the season altogether.
But there are still manger scenes being erected in church lots and public buildings all over America. There are still people who know that Jesus truly is the Reason for the Season. I’m so thankful that when I walk the streets of our town a manger scene can be found in a storefront window. And Merry Christmas signs are still seen everywhere.
As I was thinking about my own collection of manger scenes and how I worked hard to make the lights on one display shine on the baby Jesus, God spoke to my heart. How many nativities are set up where Jesus is behind the shepherd? As displays are observed is the manger itself placed outside the barn? Is the light shining brightest on Joseph or Mary or one of the Kings?
If we’re not careful we will find ourselves settling for a personal faith that's been diluted by culture and other people's takes on spirituality. We’ll have a little Jesus off to the side of our lives and a lot of self-motivation and me right in the focal point. Only One King can be on the throne and only one Lord can be the center of our lives. We will inevitably choose who is center – either ourselves or God. We can even put family, work, spouses, friends and other things in the center but Jesus says He will share His glory, His rightful place, with no other.
God speaks again: If you will keep Me front and center in your life all other things will fall into place. As you look solely to Me for your needs, your wants and your desires you will find that I AM all you need. When you put me off to the side of your life other things get mismanaged and become in disarray. Chaos ensues when you try to put yourself or anyone else but Me in the center of your heart and life. Feeling burdened by things or people or decisions or choices? Place Me back in My rightful place and see how it all will get back into focus. I will redirect your path so that you can focus on Me everywhere you go.
Oh beloved, you are precious in the sight of the Lord. The Savior of the World has come and ransomed you from everything that can trouble you and seek to control your heart and mind. Look to Him for everything. Keep Him in the center of your life. His love and care are your nourishment. His Words are your guidepost. His precious promises are your reason for living. Don’t relegate Him to the background. Keep Him front and center and watch as He takes you where you could never go on your own and makes your life a shining example of His glory and grace. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you want to keep your focus on Him all the days of your life.
Hebrews 12:2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven.
Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.