"Putting Jesus Away"

Within the month of January, I imagine a nation-wide goal is to disassemble and put away all the Christmas decorations, both on the inside and outside of our homes. The ornaments come off the tree, the greenery is cleared from the mantle, and the lights are removed from the bushes. All is stored until... next December.

As I began my un-decorating process, I eventually came to the manger scene. I gingerly wrapped the figures of the shepherds, the wise men, Mary, and Joseph in tissue paper. But then I hesitated when I came to the baby Jesus. As I held the small image of the Christ-child lying in the manger, I found myself saying, "How strange to be 'putting Jesus away'".

And then I thought further, "Am I, and are we in general as a Christian nation, satisfied to keep Jesus as a mere babe wrapped up in a blanket...all year long... until next season...only to repeat the celebration cycle one more time? I know that God longs for more from us--not because He is demanding, but because He is loving. His Son's birth was only the beginning. Luke 2:52 says, Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and men. His life as the God-man on earth, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, shows us how to live.

As we seek Him and submit to Him, we too will grow:

in wisdom--by reading and studying His Word
in stature--by standing firm on His truth, and walking in His confidence, not our own
and in favor with God and man--by following His example and putting others before ourselves.

As I continued to wrap the tissue over the small figure of the newborn Babe, I prayed to myself, "Dear Jesus, please help me not to 'put You away' this year. Please help me keep You front and center. Walk with me, every day, every step, unashamedly uncovered."

I will pray this for your heart as well, so that your unshakeable peace and contagious joy may abound in 2012.

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