Was Jesus Christmas Shopping?

Seeing the people, Jesus felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

snow

When I heard this verse, isolated from its context, I wondered, “Had Jesus been out among the masses on Black Friday?” Or perhaps He was grocery shopping the day before Thanksgiving? Or at the post office in line behind 7 other people waiting to mail a package?

In context, I know this verse is not referring to the crowds making holiday preparations, but I did notice people have not changed much in two thousand years. If I were to describe the people I encounter, I could use those exact words, “distressed” and “dispirited” and include a few of my own such as “anxious,” “unsettled,” and “without peace.”

Even as believers, it is all too easy for our lives to become characterized by hectic busyness so that we too are distressed and dispirited, without peace. This transpires when we forget we have a Great Shepherd who longs to restore our fragmented souls to wholeness and peace.

Preparing for the holiday of Christmas is so much different than anticipating the Christ. Those who were alive for that first Christmas did not realize the birth of the promised One was upon them, yet to the extent they longed to see the fulfillment of the promise, they were willing to alter their lives to worship as soon as they received the good news.

I pondered, “What is the good news that we are celebrating at Christmas?” He is called Jesus because He will save his people from their sins. He will be called Immanuel because God is with us. Through His death on the cross and resurrection, He presents the gift of eternal life for those who believe.

Striving after any other goal than Jesus, whether at Christmas, or during any other time of the year, leaves me frazzled and fragmented. Therefore, what measures can I take to return my soul to the care of my Great Shepherd? First, I ask myself if the items on my list are things the Lord is asking me to do or  are these tasks something I have put on my own plate that is not from God? God strengthens me to do any good work He has given, yet he doesn’t promise me the same strength for all those chores I choose to engage in for some other reason (such as pleasing others or looking good).  I remind myself I don’t have to fulfill every expectation because if I am putting too much pressure on myself to show love or prevent disappointment, I am really not pointing others to the right source of true hope and love – Jesus.

I try to listen to songs about the savior’s birth, not the Christmas songs bombarding the airways that have nothing to do with Christ. I stop to stare at the Christmas lights on the tree or sit still to watch God’s handiwork as the snow falls. Actually, I don’t have much of a plan because detailed plans and over-scheduling  steal my peace because I have dismissed the One Sovereign Ruler and appointed myself as CEO of my own little world. However, I have a daily choice, especially this month, to continue in my hurried distractions or to relinquish this position into his fully capable hands and allow the King of Kings to rule the universe and the Prince of Peace to rule my heart. 

6 thoughts on “Was Jesus Christmas Shopping?

  1. I’m with you on this, outstanding parallel,and the concluding paragraphs sum up option of having intent during this season. I appreciate this coming today. Sent from my iPhone

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    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this piece, from its intriguing title, to it profound insights, to its beautiful ending, full of rhythm and promise. This is a story, a sermon and a poem all wrapped up into one, and all leading us closer to our Shepherd.

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  3. “CEO of my own little world'” – what I always seem to be imagining is my job description! Lynn points me past this, leads me on .

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  4. “I remind myself I don’t have to fulfill every expectation because if I am putting too much pressure on myself to show love or prevent disappointment, I am really not pointing others to the right source of true hope and love – Jesus.”
    ^^^^ THIS!!! This I really needed to read. We absolutely are not required and should not feel so obligated to full every expectation presented to us from the world- from friends, family, work, or other outside pressures. Unless our creator is gently guiding us toward these things we shouldn’t look to impress so hard. This is one of the main things our society struggles with. Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. More. But less is often more and it shows through the peaceful love of God through us.
    Thank you!

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    • Rachel – I keep having to remind myself the things you mentioned. I get stuck in the worlds thinking that it is about the external instead of our hearts!

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