"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Let’s be honest. At this time of the year, with all of the holiday hype, it is very easy to get distracted and lose our focus on what is important. We can spend too much time preparing for holiday events and not enough time enjoying them when they come. We can get focused on meeting expectations, real or perceived, and miss the experience. We can focus on the stress of the season and miss the meaning of the season. This time of the year highlights how easy it is for us to substitute the urgent for the important in our lives. We face this challenge throughout the year, but at the holidays, it is amplified.
The Psalmist challenges us to take time to stop, quiet our hearts, and get focused. For all of the debate about the commercialization and secularization of Christmas, this season of the year still makes people think about Jesus. God is exalted in the displays of lights and the music playing over the shopping fray. Many people will miss the message, but for those who will stop long enough to listen, it is still there, loud and clear. Prominently displayed alongside of Santa and his reindeer is the nativity scene. As I drive to and from church each day, I see a simple nativity scene, displayed by a local business. It seems to me that the more some people try to drive Christ out of Christmas, the more they put the focus on Him.
We can get discouraged about the mission of the church. As we look at our world, we can begin to believe that we are losing the spiritual war. At these times, we need to stop and refocus our minds on the power of Christ to prevail. Paul addressed this when he wrote to his protégé Timothy.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
As followers of Christ, we need to take the time to be still and rest in the reality that God is God. He cannot be dethroned, no matter how hard the world tries. The light of Christ may seem dim at times, but it can never be extinguished. In fact, the light of Christ is shining as brightly, or even brighter, than it ever has. For example, our ministry partners at Call Of Love have begun an on-line TV station on YouTube. Their target audience is Arabic speaking people around the world. The station has been available for just over one month, and already they have had hundreds of requests for more information and many people have placed their faith in Christ.
As we go through the holiday season, let us make the most of every opportunity that God gives to us. Let us enjoy and rejoice in our families. Let us celebrate the greatest gift; a Savior has been born to us! Let us shine the light of Christ brightly into our world.