Thursday, December 3, 2009

Don't Be Distracted!

It's hard to believe that it's already December and the Christmas season. Since it is I am excited that we are looking at a Christmas theme for this month. The series is called A Better Than Perfect Christmas and is based off the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.

We all have our ideas of what the perfect Christmas would consist of: the right music, gatherings, presents, food, traditions, etc. This is what we find Charlie Brown talking about in the opening scene. He clearly loves all that goes on at Christmas, but he's left feeling depressed each year. This happens easily when we build up something in our mind then it doesn't live up to our expectations. This especially can happen at Christmas when we try to focus on everything but what we should be- Jesus. I know for a fact because I experienced this for several years of my life. Each year I felt like something was missing. I didn't take the time to truly focus on the time to celebrate our Savior coming to earth. I just realized this a few years ago and decided to make a change- to not be distracted anymore.

We read in Luke 10:38-42 about two sisters- Mary and Martha. One sister-Martha- was distracted by things that were good, but wasn't exactly the best while her sister was Mary was focusing on the greatest thing- Jesus! Its very easy with so much going on this month to be distracted. I know I have a fully loaded calendar with good things, but I have to remain focused on Jesus or I will go back to being like Charlie Brown was.

So how do we remain focused and not be distracted by everything going on. Well I think the greatest example to learn from on this is the same exact person we need to be focusing on. In Luke 5:16 it tells us that Jesus would slip away often to pray. It also tells us this in Matthew 14:23 and Mark 1:35. The original Greek construction of the sentence in Luke indicates that it was a continual practice and could also be translated that he was regularly withdrawing and praying. Even though there were increasing crowds following Jesus and demands of his time grew, it did not deter Jesus from spending extensive times in prayer. This of course helped him to stay focused on what he needed to.

Here is a list of some things that I am challenging myself, the youth, and yourself to do this month to stay focused on the miracle of Jesus.
-Pray each morning for protection against distractions throughout the day
-Pray each night over the next day
-Share the true meaning of Christmas with someone that doesn't understand what Christmas is truly about
-Give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
-Pray for missionaries
-Give up something for God- bad habit, hobby, purchase, etc.
-Give to someone in need
-Read the account of Jesus' birth in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2, more than once

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