I think I’m having a hard time getting into the “Christmas” spirit. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m so over it. And it’s not even Christmas yet. Perhaps there’s a bit of Scrooge and Grinch lurking in the depths of my heart. I’m not going all “bah-humbug” about Christmas. I guess I’m just tired of seeing dancing elves and Santas and snowmen and all the commercials for toys and gadgets and more things to spend money on. I’m also tired of driving to Starbucks and spending 10 minutes to find parking spaces because the Starbucks happens to be located in a shopping center. I don’t think I’ll ever get accustomed to seeing Christmas sweaters. Does a “quiet” Christmas exist anymore? Or… what exactly would a “quiet” Christmas look like?
These were the thoughts floating through my head as I sat in a fairly empty Starbucks (but not an empty parking lot) staring out the window watching the people hurriedly walk to their next destination. Some people looked dead tired and stressed, which just doesn’t seem Christmas-y. Is all that shopping really worth it? Would Christmas not be Christmas if there were only one or two presents under the Christmas tree?
Throughout this Advent season, I’ve been avoiding reading New Testament books for devotion, especially Matthew and Luke. I have no idea. After playing a game with myself of wondering what’s going on through the minds of people I am observing, I opened my bible to continue reading 1 King.
I got to chapter 15, where I ran into Asa again. But this time, our meeting was different. I couldn’t get passed a verse. Well, half of a verse. 14b says that “Asa’s heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life.”
His heart was fully committed to the Lord. For all his life.
And I begin to ask “What would that look like in our world today?”
We seem to live in a culture of more.
We want more money. We want more cars. We want more toys. And that “more” leads to “bigger.” We want bigger houses. We want bigger promotions.
This culture of more seeps into our churches as well. We want more new members. We want more youth and younger people. We want more programs. We want more meetings and more committees. We want (er..need) more money for our budgets.
But… the “more-ness” seems to stop when it comes to our spiritual lives. All of a sudden, we want less.
Church once a week is more than enough. We want to give less. We want to do less when it comes to living out our faith. We spend less time in prayer and reading and meditating on God’s words. And we don’t want someone standing in the pulpit or in front of us reminding us to spend more time communing with God, because we want to, perhaps, feel less guilty.
Jesus asks for more and more, and we keep giving less and less. I’m reminded of the scene from Oliver Twist says “Please, sir, I want some more.” And the response is “MOOOOAR??”
I feel like Jesus keeps saying, lovingly, “Joe I want more” and I look at Jesus the same way everyone looked at Oliver and say “MOOOOOAR? You want some MOOOOOAR???”
So I had to ask, “what would it look like if my heart was fully committed to the Lord?”
It’s time that I say less to everything else around me and more to God and God’s calling for me.