Monday Mindset: Ready?

One of my favorite things on Mondays is to be asked the question: “Are you ready for some football?” To be sure: I always am!

During this season, the question is typically asked differently: “Are you ready for Christmas?”

When someone asks you if you’re ready for Christmas was is your response? What do you think of? Lights, cookies, snow, presents?

If being “ready” for Christmas only involves the trappings our attitudes might be influenced by frustration and exhaustion because we don’t feel like we’ve done enough, or there’s so much more to do. Then what could be a joyous season devolves into one big mess of negativity. It might look a little like this:

So how do we get from the image (and attitude) above to more of this:

I have one thought: First, get ready for the right things. A few years back I was in an ER waiting room on December 23. The conversations were enlightening and a bit sad. One man was grousing about how we couldn’t have Christmas without snow (it was an unusually warm December that year). Another woman had fallen and broken her ankle. She weeped when her husband came in, and through tears apologized for being such a klutz and ruining Christmas. I bit my tongue really hard to keep from telling her she was not that powerful; that her fall would “ruin” Christmas–her party plans maybe, but not Christmas.

We experience the sour faces of the “Negativity Scene” above when we get miffed at things not going our way. Imagine how sour Mary and Joseph could have felt. Not much was going their way: all that travel, unexpected/untimely pregnancy, and no place to stay. Yet they did not miss the wonder and awe of the birth of the Christ Child. Emmanuel. God with us.

The second suggestion I would make is to expect things to go wrong. Cookies will burn. Turkeys won’t cook. Cars will break down. Kids will get sick. You get the idea. Expect it. And when it does, what if it does? It might feel like there can’t be Christmas, but know this: God will show up! Don’t miss it. Don’t miss the miracle.

So, are you ready for Christmas? It will come, and it will go. Don’t miss it while you grouse about what might have been, or should have been. I like the words of the old hymn: How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of the heavens. No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in. (O Little Town of Bethlehem, verse 3)

Be ready to listen, to watch…to receive.

Christmas Wonder

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I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King. (John Jacob Niles)

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Growing up, when I started a conversation with “I wonder…” Mom told me to be careful because if I ‘wondered’ too far I’d get lost.

Maybe getting lost in a little wonder wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Who couldn’t benefit from adding wonder, curiosity and amazement to their life?

It makes me sad that there is so little true wonder. Sure, we wonder where we put things, and how we’ll pay the bills. We wonder about the future…but it’s more like fear.

Listen to the conversations around us: everything is “amazing” or “awesome.” But is it really?

What makes you go “WOW!” Clear down to your toes?
What takes your breath away?
What causes you to shake your head when you try to make sense of it?

The Christmas story does that for me.

After 400 years of silence, of wondering where God was, he burst onto the scene in the most amazing and unexpected way.

A baby, a manger, a carpenter, a teenage girl in a small town.

Go figure.

Go wonder.

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Protecting Baby Jesus

WP protecting baby Jesus

I found this on my Facebook news feed. It seems a little boy was concerned when he heard the pastor describe Herod’s rage and plan to kill all the baby boys born around the same time as Jesus.

This was his solution. Baby Jesus needs protecting.

And maybe that’s not such a bad idea. Have you heard? Thieves are stealing Baby Jesus from nativities everywhere.

Watch this

Companies are offering insurance. People are putting GPS tracking devices in statues so they can find Jesus.

Have you been trying to protect Baby Jesus?

The question sounds ridiculous until we think about how we also try to protect God. How in the world would we do that, you ask.

Have you ever decided not to take your needs to God because they’re too small to matter or too big for Him to handle?

Have you pulled a “Sarah” and provided God with your plan to help Him out–and get what you want when you want it rather than waiting on His timing?

Do you ever protect God’s reputation from ridicule or scrutiny by leaving him out of your conversations and choices?

Perhaps rather than “protecting” Him, we would be better off knowing Him better. If we had a clearer perspective on who He is and how he sees us:

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
    Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants
    to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
    and all who oppose you.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
    and crowned them[e] with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made,
    putting all things under their authority—
the flocks and the herds
    and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
    and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! (Psalm 8, NLT)

That God doesn’t need me to protect Him. But, I definitely need him!

How about you?

 

 

 

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