Faithlife Sermons

Christmas Chaos (pt. 1)

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I. Introduction
Every year, “Christmas” get started earlier and earlier. Wal-Mart had Christmas stuff out before Halloween had even passed this year.
The Christmas movies start....The Christmas music starts…and to be honest with you, that doesn’t bother me....I enjoy those things....but for some people, when they hear the music and see the movies, they begin to feel the pressure. They know Christmas is coming and, in their minds, they think that means they have to start prepping or, somehow, it won’t get done.
Whatever Christmas is supposed to be, we have taken that meaning and warped it…we’ve made it about the stuff....we’ve made it “about the kids” and we bend over backwards trying to make them feel special…and, because of unrealistic expectations, we go overboard…we spend too much, we sleep too little, we work too hard, and forget to enjoy ourselves.
Now if the picture I just painted for you seems unfamiliar to you, the odds are that you are the beneficiary of somebody else that this scenario is ALL too familiar with. You’ve probably got a mother, grandmother, or maybe an aunt or two that stress themselves out trying to see that everybody else is happy.
Whether you are the stressed out person or around a stressed out person, I believe that this is not the scenario that God has intended for us to have at any point in our lives, but especially at Christmas.
I’d like to take us to a story about two people who like to hang out with Jesus....and one was stressed and the other one had to put up with the stressed person.
a. Scripture: Luke 10:38
And as always, I’m going to ask you to stand with me, if you are able, as we read from God’s Holy, Perfect, Sufficient and inerrant Word.
<Pray>
Thank you, and you may be seated.
II. Contextualization
a. In this text, we see Jesus and His disciples as they are on their journey to Jerusalem. And here they come to the home of a pair of sisters named Mary and Martha....now of course Luke doesn’t tell us where they are…he just says “a village,” but if you read ahead in John chapters 11 and 12, he locates them in a little insignificant town called Bethany…so that’s where they are…a small village near the big city of Jerusalem called Bethany.
And Jesus is coming over....it’s a special time....and these women have to decide how they will react to this special time....and friends…I think you and I are presented with this same decision every single holiday, but especially at Christmas Time. How DO we react to Christmas....and how can we make a conscious effort..to make Christmas joyful instead of jaded....Merry instead of Miserable....and relaxing instead of restless.
So let’s take look at our two ladies here....Mary and Martha...
You can choose to be a Mary....or you can be a Martha.
Now I realize, that there are people who love by serving like Martha. And you may fall into that category. You’re going to be the first one in the kitchen after everybody is done eating and in there washing dishes. And THAT quality of Martha is OK…I’m not telling you it’s not…however, there are times when it’s ok to serve like that and there are times when you have stressed yourself out and its NOT ok. The wisdom, you see, is recognizing the difference.
I’ve had people say “well that’s just the way she is…it’s how she shows love.” And hey, great. I’m not asking you servers out there to change....but I am saying you....even YOU my Marthas need to learn how to STOP…sit down and enjoy your family.
We’ll talk more about that in a minutes...
But I think in this situation, we would all agree that it would be Mary that was focused on the right things…after all, it calls Martha “distracted”, and Jesus Himself called her “worried,” and “bothered.” Mary, on the other hand…Jesus said that she “has chosen the good part.”....So I think the real secret to this Christmas being different is to have the right attitude....and that is the attitude seems to be pretty nicely exemplified by our friend Mary here....so let’s look at her and talk about what kind of attitude we can have in order to have the right kind of Christmas.
III. Major Points
Keep the Right Focus
Stay Positive
IV. Point #1: Keep the Right Focus
Explanation
Clearly in this story, one person has the right perspective, and one person clearly doesn’t.....Martha is preoccupied…she’s so preoccupied with trying to be a good hostess and to satisfy traditions that she misses the best part of Jesus visiting: and that’s JESUS.
Have you ever been so busy with YOUR Christmas preparations that you didn’t even enjoy it? What a shame....an entire season dedicated to the celebration of our Savior’s birth....and you allow yourself to get so distracted that you, like Martha miss the best part of Christmas....and that’s Christ.
It’s important to try and stay focused during this time of year.
Illustration

I heard a joke one time about a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead who got themselves in trouble in the 1800s....thet are arrested and sentenced to death by firing squad, one by one.

While they wait to be executed they come up with a plan. Right before they are to be shot, each one will yell that some natural disaster or emergency is happening to distract the soldiers and they would be able to escape.
The brunette is first. As she hears the captain counting down to 0 she yells "TORNADO!" As the soldiers duck for cover, she scales the wall of the prison and escapes to freedom.
The redhead is next. As she hears the captain counting down to 0 she yells "EARTHQUAKE!" As the soldiers duck for cover, she scales the wall of the prison and escapes to freedom.
Last is the blonde. As she hears the captain counting down to 0 she yells "FIRE!"
lol....sometimes we have the right intentions, but we let trees get in the way of the forest....
Application
So how do we keep the right focus....
#1. Remember who it’s all for...
a. “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “Keep Christ in Christmas”....some of the same people who repeat those phrases are the very ones distracted by all the preparations.
b. If we can remember that the purpose of Christmas is two-fold:
To celebrate - It is true that we are supposed to celebrate Jesus’s birth this time of year....but that’s not all....you see that’s where the Martha’s in our life get all tangled up: they are so committed to making sure that their families have the best celebration possible, that they miss the second goal of Christmas:
To worship - ....I want you to think about that for a minute....how much time have you taken in the past at Christmastime to worship the Lord? To show Him love?…appreciation....to truly make the season about Him?
so much effort is given to our traditions....our customs…how it makes “us” feel....and then after the work is done....the thousands of dollars are spent....the wrapping paper is left on the floor....and the dishes are in the sink....we are left feeling empty…like it has no purpose.
Exaustion....emptiness....just like any other holiday....sound familiar? Moms? Grandmas, especially?
A lot of that distraction and lack of focus comes from forgetting to worship....forgetting to lift up and praise the Lord....
Notice what Martha and Mary did when Jesus came over....Martha welcomed Him alright, but then it’s as almost if she forgot about Him....she was all worried about the preparations and went and got herself stuck in the kitchen....and she felt HORRIBLE....she was even angry at her sister for not being like her.
Notice where Mary was…when Martha came looking for her, Mary had no trouble deciding what this special time was about....Martha found Mary where she should have been: Jesus’s feet, listening to His Word.
Her focus was right....we can start by remembering who the season is for....celebrating....but yes, worshiping too.
I know what some of you ladies are thinking: well, if I don’t do it…who will? I know…I understand…I’ve cooked for big groups before…I’ve made dressing and turkey before using my Granny’s old recipe....it’s not easy....but let me ask you to consider just a couple practical things:
Consider delegating some of your responsibilities....teach the recipes to other family members…do it a little more covered dish....
Consider simplifying things…take some time to review everything you do before Christmas and ask “is this really necessary…or important....or..... is it a distraction.
And consider this: so what? SO WHAT? So what if nobody makes green ben casserole? Is that going to stop Christmas from coming? Is that going to destroy the meal? Well some poor old lady says “yeah by my husband will be mad if we don’t have it,: week tell him to get his backside in there and make it then! “HE AIN’T GONE COOK” well tell him to step up or be quiet!
There’s no chicken casserole....”OH NO! CALL SANTY CLAUSE AND CALL IT ALL OFF!” Yall…it’ll be alright…it’ll be alright.
It’s about HIM…not you…not your husband…not your kids....yall CAN have fun too…but remember: it’s about Jesus. Measure everything else you do by that standard.
#2. So remembering that it is all for Jesus is good for keeping your focus, and second is what I briefly aluded to a second ago and that is this: to keep things simple:
Imagine a Christmas with NO presents....NO huge meal....A meal, but just what you need....not over-doing it....No missing Christmas in the kitchen....No going into debt buying Christmas presents you can’t afford....No getting so hung up on decorations (pardon the pun), that you miss the fun.....
Well you may buy a few gifts....you may have a meal…but listen…do what you can to simplify it....don’t set goals outside your limits....and know what your limits are....make sure you MAKE time to relax....have some cookies and hot chocolate....watch Christmas movies with your family....sing Christmas carols....and enjoy each other’s company.....and, most of all, make sure you worship. Remember: You may have a lot to do....but YOU are the one who sets your schedule and makes your chore list....maybe try to take some stuff off this year? schedule a little more family time and little less chaos this year....
You know....I don’t need any gifts....so I say this sincerely to friends and family: don’t buy me anything…spend time with me....be jolly with me....laugh with me…dine with me…be happy with me....it’s like the Mariah Carey song says: “All I want for Christmas....is YOU.”
And listen, as I said before, Christmas is NOT about the kids…it’s not…that’s why a lot of people end up spending themselves into debt trying to make it special....and Kids think Christmas is about them because they’ve been taught that....and when they grow up and we try to tell them “wait no, it’s really about Jesus”....then it loses its magic for them and we wonder why....And while it’s not about them, how many of you know that one of the best parts of Christmas is spending time with your family and being grateful for what God has given you, amen?
Imagine missing your kids enjoying Christmas because you can’t stand to see and empty red solo cup sitting on the counter....or because there’s a fork in the sink that might have to sit there an hour or two…don’t let your serving nature prevent you from enjoying your family.
So what can you do to keep focus? Remember the reason, and keep it simple....
V. Point #2: Stay Positive
Explanation
In this story, poor Martha was so negative....she didn’t feel she was doing her job unless she was staying busy…she wasn’t positive at all....she was worried....anxious....and bothered about many things. Why? Well…she was distracted....she wasn’t focused. She had too much to do....she let her list get too long....she let her schedule get too tight:
Could the dishes NOT wait for Jesus to leave? How often does one have Jesus right there physically near you....
Could she not have spared 5 minutes at the feet of Jesus? Could she not worship him?
It’s Up to YOU to stay positive…because life happens....and stress and depression are really high at Christmas time....if you don’t make your mind up to be positive....nobody is going to do it for you…Have a well-made-up mind to BE positive…and to be joyful and thankful for Jesus this time of year.
Illustration
I heard a joke one time about four old men that were out golfing... every time they hit the course their enthusiasm became less and less. "These hills are getting steeper as the years go by," one complained.
"These fairways seem to be getting longer too," wheezed a second.
"And somehow, the sand traps seem to be bigger than I remember 'em too," said the third.
Hearing just about enough from his buddies, the oldest, and the wisest of the fours at 87 years old piped up "Oh my friends, just be thankful we're still on this side of the grass!"
Application
You know....as with most things in life, a good attitude and being positive are a choice....and they are, by-the-way the Christian choice....the right choice. God doesn’t desire a church that is miserable and morose…if you can’t think of a single reason to smile in your life, friend you haven’t met Jesus. Because when you strip away all the nonsense that stresses us out in life…all the chaos of Christmas and all the evil of flawed people, the at the very LEAST you still have Jesus. That is enough. Smile.
Studies show that positive thinking and being an optimist are good for your health…people with better attitudes tend to live longer, have lower blood pressure, and have better relationships…and its no wonder....
A positive attitude is a great indicator of your faith…when people see a person who is a Christian who has a positive attitude like Mary, they see Christ....so you have a good witness that way.
But it’s not just adviseable, it’s biblical.
Proverbs 17:22 NASB95
A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Ephesians 4:31–32 NASB95
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Proverbs 15:1 NASB95
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
VII. Conclusion
a. Let me ask you this morning, are you living out a life that reflects Christ in your life? Your life should reflect Christ....your attitude should....
and that INCLUDES at possibly stressful and chaotic times like Christmas....Let’s do this, let’s make a pact to make Christmas different this year....but let’s forget all of that....let’s make it truly special.....let’s celebrate....let’s WORSHIP....let’s stay focused and remember who it’s about....let’s be very PURPOSEFUL about alleviating stress....making things simple....because if you don’t make a plan....if you don’t make it purposeful....if you don’t look on your schedule and cut out the fluff....look at your menu....look at your list of things to do....if you don’t cut out the unnecessaries and SCHEDULE enjoyment....it won’t happen....
They always say: if you don’t plan, you plan to fail.
So what will you do this year? Will you allow it to be chaotic and stressful and get in the way of Christ and enjoyment with your family like Martha?....or will you spend some time at Jesus’s feet and feel true joy like Mary?
Make that decision now....and I hope you’ll choose joy...
b. Let’s Pray...
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