Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Sometimes I hear something new and it makes so much sense that I wonder why I have never heard it before. My sister received a Christmas newsletter from her place of employment. She sent me a copy with a short message from her immediate boss about preparing for Christmas. Her family was coming (children and grandchildren) and she was cleaning, buying, wrapping, and trying to get to the baking.
So far there’s nothing new. Every woman I know is somewhere on the same track about now. She was talking about how stressed this was making her until she stopped herself to pre-prayer for the real Christmas. She was taking her focus off of her worldly list of things to get done and pre-prayering for the Christ child, the Lord of Lords!
Her message reminded me of the hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” the words prompt us to “look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Where did she turn for her help? To the only One who is able to help. Rather than stay in a state of anxiety over the work that needed to be accomplished this woman was willing to seek the Lord and His kingdom first knowing that all these things would get done when her priorities were right! Jesus first.
Initially, this woman preparing for Christmas was looking only at her circumstances. There were too many things to do and seemingly too little time to do them all. When she switched her focus from the work to be done to the Lord, when she looked to Him for her strength, her help, and her joy, then preparations to celebrate the birth of the King really began.
As I write this, Christmas Day is rapidly approaching. Many of us still have gifts to buy and wrap, dinners to cook, houses to clean, and cookies to bake. Most of us will make sure it is all finished by the 24th or 25th. Will it matter if some portion doesn’t get done? Is there any of it so important that we should allow the weight of it to turn us into Scrooges and cause our families, friends, and co-workers to wish it was all over? Could we eliminate some - or at least delegate it to others?
Philippians 4:6 says, “ do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Do we really have anything to be anxious about? Isn’t there plenty to be thankful for? We have families to shop for and guests to clean for. Lights and music make the season beautiful. We need to praise God for the blessings – even in the preparations.
Slowing down long enough to pre-prayer may be all we really need to calm down and actually enjoy the Christmas celebrations we’re preparing for. Each day God gives us new mercies and He has Good News for us to share with others.
Will you and I be prepared for Christmas or will be pre-prayered to have our eyes turned to the One full of glory and grace?
Beth Bingaman is a Bible teacher, speaker, and writer living in Reading, Pa. She is a mother and grandmother whose passion is to teach the whole counsel of God with clarity, energy and humor. She teaches and speaks for retreats and women’s ministry events with the goal of challenging women to think and live biblically. You can read her devotional blog at www.bethbingaman.com or follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/BethBingaman or on twitter.