Full or Empty?

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

During this season, many of us will over-indulge. Whether it be food, worldly music, amusements, fellowship, or finances; we sometimes stretch ourselves – literally – to the breaking point. Take a look around. Most of America is poster-worthy material for what happens when you try to sate your desires.

Before you think me cynical, critical or harshly judgmental, bear with the comparison I am trying to make this morning.

Proverbs 27:7 “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

Most of America lives to eat, while the rest of the world eats to live. The time and money spent on amusements, gifts, music, vacations, and possessions speak to our living in excess. While out this Christmas season, look into the faces of those around you – do they exemplify the spirit of Christmas? Peace, love and joy?

Personally, where are we today? Frazzled with schedules and plans that fill our time? Lists that seem to go on that we must complete? Cards to write, cookies to bake, homes to decorate, gifts to buy, parties to attend… and to what end – to say that we had yet another ‘great’ Christmas?

When was the last time you just stopped and asked yourself – “Why”. Some feel the pressure of friends and family because it is expected; it’s what we’ve always done – it’s tradition. Others to impress and still others to fill the time: because to stop and reflect, we fear we’d come up empty.

Paul helps us to understand a concept that God would have us take into this week of Christmas.

Philippians 4:11-12 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

At the core of this contentment that God is speaking, is a right relationship with the God of Heaven. The lack of peace in the life of the child of God touches every aspect of the rest of our life. We become frustrated with the minutia of daily life. People seem to be in our way. From the jerk that cut us off on the way to work to the fellow employee who seems out to get us. From the spouse that doesn’t seem to be on the same page or the child who just rebels at every step.

John the Baptist said, “He MUST increase” but “I MUST decrease”. Many a Christian will have a nativity represented in their home; but is it the centerpiece? I speak figuratively in that our activity and busyness take us away from our daily walk with the One whose birth we are celebrating.

If we are not careful, we become full of the commercialism of a worldly ‘holiday’ instead of using the season for reminding a lost world why we celebrate.

Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Unless we take the time to fill our hearts with the love that God showed us in the sending of His Son, we will remain silent to those who need to see and hear the truth.

Jesus IS the reason for the season.

In all the preparation, baking, gift buying and wrapping; take some time to meditate on what was given to us in Jesus Christ. Lift Him up in your hearts. Speak to Him today. Thank Him for his willingness to come and be born; to be the sacrificial Lamb. Ask Him to remove the things that steal the peace and joy. Desire Him to have His rightful place in all the things you do, the people you’ll see, the conversations  you’ll have, even the gifts you’ll give.

When Jesus is increased in our lives, the fruit it bears will make for a lasting memory not just today, but for eternity.

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