Living Christmas

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

Those of you who read frequently know my mom is dying. Many of my posts recently have been about her, and what God is teaching me and how He is using me to minister to my folks in these last months and days of her life.

Today I am thinking about all that is yet to be done for our family Christmas celebration and realizing there is no way it is all going to happen this year. Also, I have realized I really don't care. So much of our American Christmas is propped up around shopping and presents and crazy hoopla, and each year we collectively grumble and crab about all "we have to do" and all the money it costs to do it.

Living though this time with my mom during the holiday season has certainly adjusted my perspective on all this stuff! Not one card was sent, not one cookie has been baked, and that tree that stands in my living room seems very out of place.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Instead, I am living Christmas this year. Sacrifice is what Jesus exemplified in everyday life. His sacrifice began when He sacrificially left heaven and the Father to come to earth. It was a volunteer mission you know. He intentionally humbled himself to become like you and I in taking on human form. That was the first demonstration of what is needed to be like Him- humility and sacrifice. These two attributes are deeply intertwined.

To live sacrificially a person must determine to empty themselves of themselves. The must decide that the one they are sacrificing for is worth the personal cost. In our case, Jesus did not make this sacrifice because we are so worthy; He did it because we are so hopeless. But we make these sacrifices when we determine that the one we are serving is worth our time, effort and energy.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

We must also humble ourselves to undertake activities that are unpleasant and distasteful. There is nothing glorious about cleaning commodes and wiping bottoms, and the willingness to do such things is but a taste of the humility of Christ.

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:1-8

We attend church each week, but this is living church and living Christmas and I am certain that this time I am spending here is infinitely more important than shopping or baking cookies or sending greeting cards. Serving my parents is not convenient nor is it always pleasant but it is what I know Jesus would have me to do.

The purpose is to glorify God in how I live my life. This is to be the goal of each of us as Christians. We are to live sacrificially, and humbly, and glorify God as we serve one another.

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