I’m trying to give you a short summary each week from the sermon, a few gleanings that I found particularly satisfying. But this week I was so convicted that I just wanted to come home and go to bed. But instead I had to hear it all again in the second service (being a devoted wife of the minister). But, thankfully, we had a time of confession again in the second service, so I managed to press on and through.Â Here are the few highlights I have selected for you, and I hope you willÂ be encouraged.
The basic thrust was this: Look out. Look sharp. Christmas is coming, and it is not all about you. The text was Colossians 3:12-17 and the idea that the minister was expressing to us was that we should take a hint from the past seventeen Christmases where we fell on our faces and do a little preparation this year.Â After all, it will be here on Friday. And, as he put it, there it is on the calendar, leering at you.
What could he be talking about? He was talking about all our (unspoken) expectations about Christmas and how they set us up and booby-trap us every year, and we fall flat in several ways: we are disappointed because it wasn’t as wonderful as we had hoped; we didn’t get any good gifts (a mop instead of pearls); the stuff we got everyone else was way under-appreciated; nobody offered to help in the kitchen; and we load everyone up with emotional, financial, and spiritual invoices that we tuck into the gifts we are giving. This translates into an emotional roller coaster ride rather than a sweet celebration of gratitude to God for His unspeakable gift.
We know that it is more blessed to give than receive. But this is not an ethical command. It is not a star on our report card. When we give, we are giving ourselves, and when we receive a blessing from giving the gift, then we are actually on the receiving end. In other words, we receive when we give more than we receive when we receive. Giving is a gift in itself.
Christmas is ordinary life, only ramped up, so we need to ramp up our preparations. We need to focus on being first and then doing will flow from that. But if we go straight to the doing (cooking, shopping, wrapping, cleaning) without the being (without getting into our Christmas garb) then we will fall flat ten minutes into it.
There is a way to prepare for Christmas this year so the above mentioned items do not happen as in years past. This way of preparing is to get dressed for Christmas. How do we get dressed? We put on Christ. And from the passage in Colossians, this means putting on mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, forgiveness, and longsuffering.
So get dressed for Christmas. Put on Christ. Don’t be a fusser. Don’t load your family up with unspoken expectations and then flop when they don’t perform. Doing flows out of being. So first be dressed in Christ. And then do Christmas.
16 thoughts on “Get Dressed for Christmas”
Oh thank you from the other side of the world, where it will be a hot, hot day on Friday. The heat brings it’s own special trials and I just had a ‘meltdown’ about the day and family expectations(all of which I feel I must meet).
I am convicted now and have to repent and dress myself in Christ. Thank you dear Nancy for this timely entry.
This sermon was amazing, and very convicting! Thanks for the recap.
Great reminder! We just sold, and then bought a house a month ago, and are hosting both our families…no small undertaking! Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you and your whole family.
Thank you, now I am ready to go to the grocery store and DO…and DO and DO…
Have a day full of Him.
I think is was a couple of year ago, you posted the sage advice that we mustn’t survive on fudge and coffee just at Christmas, as it will leave us all unable to play well with others.
And that was something I needed to hear.
But this post is such a real comfort and encouragement to me…putting on Christ and Christ-likeness and knowing that the warmth I want to see in my home will flow from Him.
Thank you so much.
Oh dear. I’ve been giving my free spaces in these days up to Christmas to making gifts and cookies and planning parties and preparing for parties and etc. etc. all in the name of celebrating Christ and yet I’ve not had a single time reading His Word or praying with a quiet spirit or mind…and all along I’ve been growing more easily irritated with my kids and my husband and just generally yucky to live with exhausted from all the DOING. Sigh. Repent. Change…move on. But I just have this ONE MORE DAY to finish gifts and pack the car before I can be sweet, patient, and lovely-spirited — Balance (wisdom) is so very very difficult. Argh.
Thank you for writing.
Wonderful to read. Definitely perfect timing, as I’m feeling very low and burned-out today. Definitely a day to smile at my little ones a lot and just relax. Catch up on my Bible reading. Look forward to Advent lighting tonight and have a smile for my husband when he gets home. Thank you for this post!
I don’t always comment but I always appreciate your words. Thank you so much for sharing! I check your site everyday just to see if there is a bit of wisdom that I need to gain. This post was needed. I came home from Christmas shopping and just cried and cried when I read it. The Lord has a way of telling me just what I need to hear. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. Every Christmas I ask the Lord “How do I get my heart right for Christmas?” The answer is right there in the Bible. I have to put on Christ. Thank you for pointing me in that direction and thank you and Mr. Wilson for sharing with us the things that you have learned. Merry Christmas!
This was a wonderful post. Thank you! I am in the northeastern part of the United States and we often have to dress in layers to keep warm. The Christmas garb doesn’t fit well over layers of already accumilated sins and pettiness. Those little foxes! Thank you for encouragement and all that we have learned from you all in Moscow.
Ohhh, so good, thank-you!
Thank you for sharing and helping all of us prepare!
A great and timely reminder for us all. Thank you Nancy,and Merry Christmas!!!
Thank you, Mrs. Nancy. I read this at the perfect moment, as I am perched and ready to jump into all of my Christmas “doing.” Thanks for the reminder to put on Christ before I run around baking, wrapping, and interacting with my husband’s family. Merry Christmas!
If anyone wants to hear the whole sermon, I just finished uploading it:
Thank you… I’ve found your blog to be a huge encouragement throughout 2009. Today I went out in my car and had a good cry over the money for Christmas presents I lost before I had time to buy presents– I needed to hear this.
God is so gracious that He sends ministers to preach and teach His people faithfully. This in itself is a gift and it is even more appreciated because it gives us wisdom on how to handle ourselves on the biggest gift giving day of the year. This is SO good for my soul.