Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Christmas?

So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun...

I always feel a bit of a let-down this time of year. I love Christmas. I would listen to Christmas music in July if I could get away with it.

I think working in retail has taken it's toll on me. I start receiving boxed Christmas cards the week after Labor Day. Then it's go-go-go! If I'm not in the back room receiving more Christmas stuff, I'm working out on the floor helping cranky customers find the gifts they need.

Christmas Day arrives and I sleep in, breathe a sigh of relief, try to enjoy the day, then rush back to work early the next day to sticker Christmas stuff 50% off. The next few days the onslaught of people trickles away, and come New Year's we're back on our regular schedule.

Part of me is glad Christmas is over, yet part of me grieves. I finally slow down, but Christmas is done. The last few years I've felt this way too, and vow to not let it happen again. I decide the next year I'll take time during Advent to stop and contemplate Christmas for what it really is. And every year I fail. I forget. I don't make time. And I end up in this same place.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
And he shall lift you up
Higher and higher
And he shall lift you up

hum·ble (hŭm'bəl) –adjective
1. not proud or arrogant; modest
2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.
3. low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly
4. courteously respectful
5. low in height, level, etc.; small in size

We talked last week in church about why Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem. Sure the prophets had foretold it that way, but why Bethlehem? Why not Jerusalem, or some beautiful city in Montana? The Bible often mentions Bethlehem as a place of sorrow... Rachel died and was buried there, Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem after their husbands died, Micah calls Bethlehem "small among the clans of Judah".

It was the ultimate act of humility. Philippians 2, one of my favorite passages, says that we should
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!"
(emphasis mine)

It goes along with what I wrote in my last post. I desire recognition, but I need to be humble. I need to always put others ahead of myself, not just in what I do but also what I think. My attitude should be the same as that of Jesus. After all, he left the glory and splendor of heaven to be born in a stable in the tiny town of Bethlehem...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Luke 1:30

"Don't be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!"

Wow. How amazing would that be, to just be going through life serving and doing your thing, then all of a sudden you are told -- by an angel no less -- that you have found favor with God?! That is the ultimate compliment and confirmation that what you're doing is good and right!

I have long considered myself to be a people pleaser. I crave affirmation from everyone -- coworkers, family, friends... It's so hard for me to work at something with all my heart and serve only God and not people. I do love to serve, and I think it's one of my top spiritual gifts. And I won't give up serving just because I don't receive affirmation. I just long for an occasional pat on the back or heartfelt words that what I'm doing is good.

I need Mary's humble servant heart...
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