Luke 10:38-42 – As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister Mary sat on the floor, listening to Jesus as he talked. But Martha was the jittery type, and was worrying over the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Sir, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me." But the Lord said to her, "Martha, dear friend, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it — and I won't take it away from her!" (TLB)
My dogs like to get up early, very early. Fortunately, I tend to be awake anyway, so it isn't a big effort to arise between 4:00 and 4:30 a.m. each day. Lots of times, however, after feeding and letting them out, I will crawl back into bed to read for awhile and then catch another hour of sleep before arising to prepare for work. Too often, however, everyone likes to get back into bed with me — instead of going to their own beds. Thus, there will be me plus seven or eight canines all camped out on a 54 x 72-inch space. I can barely move. My arms and legs end up being cramped and twisted. It also gets extremely warm with so many bodies packed so closely together. Fortunately, we live in an area where the nights tend to be cold, and there are also no fleas or lice or ticks — for which I am truly thankful. At the same time, however, I am rarely ever able to catch that extra hour of slumber, due to the crowded situation, and thus, often feel tired and grumpy when my alarm sounds the final rise-and-shine signal.
Likewise within my Christian life, I have discovered that I can succumb to a similar type of overcrowding in regards to my daily schedule. Life gets so busy, especially amidst the Christmas season. There are so many jobs and invitations and commitments to juggle. Like Martha, everything I am doing is usually good and perhaps even needed. Yet, also like Martha, sometimes, all of these good things crowd out the true priority of the season: spending time with Jesus, remembering His birth and all it encompasses.
Lack of time with Christ at Christmas, however, especially cramps my spirituality. I find my temper rising, my patience failing, and my overall disposition sliding down the hill of anticipated joy into Grumpsville.
What is the solution? It's simple. I have learned to say No. No to too many dogs in the bed. No to too many good things on my schedule, and Yes to quality time with the Master.
So, if daily time with Christ this Christmas season is being crowded out due to too many dogs in your bed of life, you know what to do: learn to say No. Stand firm, and reclaim the true priority.
Prayer: Lord God, how easy it is to get caught up in so many good things in this life, especially at this time of the year. Grant each of us wisdom this day to evaluate our priorities and to make wise decisions. Help us to say Yes to Your priorities and No to any and all those which are keeping us from Christ this Christmas. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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