Christmas: It's All About The Approach

As with many of you with young kids, my wife and I are experiencing the final push of last Christmas list check-offs. We have a general quota-per-child situation going, where we want to be sure everyone has been taken care of, as well as ensuring that things haven't gotten out of control by handing out too many gifts. Too many gifts? Yes, we believe that in all things it wouldn't hurt to exercise a little more moderation.

The way I see it, there are two approaches for Christmas shopping.

1. The Planned Approach - This is when you start your Christmas shopping early. Eleven months early. You stay on a budget, and you shop clearance. Your basement is organized with labeled totes with individual-specific shopping lists taped under the lid.

2. The Panicked Approach - This is when you storm the department store on December 23rd with a Christmas list scribbled on a Burger King napkin, visibly upset when you can't find dalmation bedroom slippers in the correct size. I read recently about a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who actually called 911 in a panic when she did something that she thought would get her in trouble with Santa.

Does one of these extremes seem crazy to you, and the other more reasonable? Do you have a clear picture in mind of someone who Christmas shops this way? Be careful. Someone else is reading this article and thinking about you!

Similarly, there are also two approaches to life as a whole.

1. The Worrier's Approach - This is when you start with your life and your experience and project that on to God. When things are good, you feel like God's a good God and he's close and he loves me and he cares about me. When things are hard, you start to wonder and WORRY, "Is there really a God?" 

Here is the problem. If you start bottom-up with your feelings and experiences and sin and sadness and suffering, and you project them toward God-when you need him most you'll run FROM him not to him. You'll have questions about him, not worship for him. You're going to be in a difficult place. 

Maybe this is you today. You're certain that your future is uncertain. You wonder what's going to happen next? How is this going to work out? Life has gotten very complicated. 

2. The Worshipper's Approach - This is when you assume that God is who he says he is; that the Bible is true and that it reveals to us the character, the nature, and he attributes of God. When you believe in that and then you interpret all of your life in light of what God says and who God says he is. 

When this is the case, when you go to Scripture, you realize God is good. He made the world good, and it is humankind that has corrupted it through sin. The sin and the suffering and the sadness that is experienced, is not because of God, it's because of Satan and demons and sinners all working together in a war against God. 

When you have a worshippers approach, God is good, altogether always and only good. And God has a plan that he is working out and unfolding through history to be a redeemer and a liberator and a deliverer and a Savior. So when you are suffering, or when you are anxious, or you are frustrated, you learn to trust in God, run TO God, not question God, run from God. 

There are two approaches for Christmas shopping, there are two approaches to life. But, bottom line is that the is only ONE way: JESUS. May we approach in humility this Christmas season.

This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 
1 John 5:11

Merry Christmas!
Pastor Milo


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