First off, I want to say I realize my blog this week is outside the confines of the usual content but bear with me. I like to share my thoughts as I “digest” them introspectively and I think the content is appropriate as it’s underpinnings are timely for the season and good for the soul. I hope you can find yourself somewhere in this message and let it spur you into pondering what it means for you, whatever that may be.
A few years ago, I sat down and penned this paragraph as I was grappling to string the Christmas foundation together in a way that made sense to me:
Each Christmas season, I am reminded of the love that was gifted to us in the form of the baby Jesus more than 2000 years ago. I, as an imperfect person, need a savior to rescue me from the wrath that is due. Because of my imperfections, a Holy and Righteous God cannot look upon me without condemnation. God loves us all so much that He sent his own perfect son into this broken, hostile world to be sacrificed as a ransom for our failures in order that we may be perfected in His sight and therefore made right with Him. Death has been defeated, Life in Christ is gifted to anyone willing to receive it. Peace for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Whatever the term “Christmas” conjures up in our minds and hearts determines our very real perception and understanding of this holiday.
Past experiences, traditions, family time, fond memories, disappointment, failed expectations, lost loved ones. Some, possibly all of these, make our lists.
As we sit on the back porch of another Christmas, we have an opportunity to “file” our most recent experiences in a positive manner, no matter the intent or outcome.
Foundationally, our sense of fulfillment or satisfaction should not come from the expectations we have of others. Placing our fulfillment in the hands of others positions us for almost certain disappointment. Dealing with disappointment is tough. It’s easy to conclude the most effective way to circumvent disappointment is through avoidance. However, what is the value of life without community with others? We are meant to live connected. Distancing gently, unknowingly, slips into loneliness.
Life with people gets messy. But we shouldn’t let life’s messiness steal our focus or joy. We need to place our focus on our purpose. A life of purpose leaves a wake of legacy. Isn’t that what each of us truly desire? To inspire those around us in our short time on earth? To leave a lasting impact on those we love, possibly even some we aren’t even aware of, long after we are gone?
Many of us fail, myself included, by looking inward for daily motivation and strength. Therein lies the problem. Inward focus yields inward-based decisions. Looking up, to something, someone, greater than our situation is the only action which consistently results in transcending peace and purpose that surpasses our finite understanding.
Christmas embodies selfless gifting out of love. This loving act toward others goes against our very human nature. I find it fascinating how quickly I lose perspective on this phenomena. The more I can stay focused on my purpose in the lives of those around me, gifting them with my time and talents, the more fulfilled and peaceful I realize I am.
When I place my approval in the hands of imperfect people around me, I am sure to never be enough. Realizing my approval is simply based upon being accepted and loved by God, who created me and knows me through and through, is a true game-changer. I no longer have to “measure up”. With childlike faith, I can know that I am enough. I am free to chase my dreams and bless others around me along the way.
Jesus was enough and so are you.
Live well this week and God Bless,
Sean & the Northstar Tribe