December 1, 2019 at 12:28 pm · naltadonna · Comments Off on Messy Christmas – Week 1
Christmas is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year. However, this time of year is also often filled with stress and tension. Many of us have high expectations for what our Christmas should be like, and often those expectations do not line up with reality. Sometimes Christmas is a lot more messy than merry. This Sunday we began a new series called A Very Messy Christmas, which is about discovering the good news of a Christ, who is born in the middle of our messy, imperfect lives. We can find hope that God comes to us in the midst of our messy lives and redeems us.
This Sunday we talked about expectations and pressures around the Christmas. At Christmas, we struggle with pressures to buy the perfect Christmas gifts, to have our homes decorated like Better Homes and Garden magazine, for our Christmas cookies to look like Rachel Ray’s cookies, for our family to get a long at the dinner table. Sometimes we struggle with pressures from family members around the holidays with judgments on how we live our lives. What pressures and expectations are you facing this Advent season?
In Luke 1:57-66, Zechariah and Elizabeth faced a lot of pressures from relatives and neighbors on what to name their son. About nine months earlier, Zechariah had received a vision from an angel that they would have a son, who would prepare the way for the Savior of the world. The angel said they were to name this son John. Zechariah questioned the prophecy, so the angel said he would be mute until the child was born. When their baby was born, on the eighth day Elizabeth and Zechariah took him to be circumcised and named. All the neighbors and relatives pressured Elizabeth and Zechariah to name their newborn baby Zechariah, after his father. But they both knew that God called them to name him John, so they politely but firmly told everyone gathered that their son would be named John. At this, Zechariah’s voice came back, and he began praising God. Then, the whole town knew that God had great things in store for John and that God’s power and presence rested upon him.
Making sure the relatives approved of her child’s name and ensuring that she was meeting other people’s expectations for her family’s life were not on the top of Elizabeth’s priority list. Elizabeth was more concerned about following God than pleasing people. This story is an invitation for us to focus on Christ’s desires for our lives over other people’s expectations and approval. Being in Christ is the best place for us to be. We encourage you to recognize the external pressures and expectations that are burdening you this Advent season. Then, release them to God in prayer. Seek God’s desires over the approval of others, and make this Advent season a little more merry in the midst of the mess.
A Very Messy Christmas Advent Calendar:
- Monday December 2- Read Luke 1:57-66. Consider, what struggles did Elizabeth and Zechariah face during the birth of their son? Where is hope found in this story?
- Tuesday December 3- Go to an online news site, or look through a newspaper. Find examples of bad news in these stories. Now, go back and see if you can find any good news. Consider, where God is present in the midst of these stories.
- Wednesday December 4- Watch Orly Wahba’s TED talk called Kindness.
- Thursday December 5- Bring hope to someone who is struggling through a random act of kindness.
- Friday December 6- Have each person in your family share something that brought them hope this week.
- Saturday December 7- Write down ten things you are grateful for this Advent season.