THE PASTOR’s PEN DECEMBER 02, 2018
Dear Church Family and Friends,
And in the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving has come and gone. Amazing right? It feels like just yesterday when we were dreaming of elaborate feasts with family and friends. Similarly, Christmas will be here soon enough and our time anticipating and leading up to celebrating Jesus’ birth will have come and gone.
You don’t need me to tell you that the Christmas season is one of busyness. We all know it. We all experience it. And we all hope to have a more peaceful Christmas this year than we did last year. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the busyness of the season and miss out on what really matters to us. But without acknowledging that this is a tough season or having a plan in place to keep priorities in line, then we are destined to be caught up with the demands of the season and find ourselves sacrificing the very things we love in order to keep up. If we feel this way, then we can safely assume that others feel the same way.
On a particular occasion, a professor was speaking to a group of his business students about time management. In order to drive home a point, he used the following illustration.
He pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, ”Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, ”Yes.” Then he said, ”Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he smiled and asked the group once more, ”Is the jar full?” By this time the class was catching on. ”Probably not,” one of them answered. ”Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, ”Is this jar full?” ”No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, ”Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, ”What is the point of this illustration?” A student raised his hand and said, ”The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!” ”No,” the speaker replied, ”That’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all. We are talking about priorities – things that are to be placed in order of importance.”
So, here is my point. IF we don’t focus first and foremost on the most important things this Christmas, we will find ourselves like the inn keeper of the Bible, with no room.
With all that was going on in Bethlehem, and the influx of people no wonder space or room was in short supply. And the same holds true today. With family, friends and even church activities coming into our calendars at breakneck speed, if we are not careful we will find ourselves so tire, covered up with activities, hustle, bustle and frustration that we will have no room for the real reason of the season.
I find it interesting that there were very few in the stable that night. Some who were made aware of the events of that night, stopped what they were doing. Realized something of much greater significance was happening, were willing to travel some distance, and even brought special gifts of time and heart to worship a new born babe. The Inn and the city had it’s crowd, but the stable had it’s few who recognized the real meaning and significance of the events that night.
Thanksgiving is behind us and the busy Christmas season looms before us. I pray we won’t miss “it!” The holiday busyness can make us bone tired and we know too well how fatigue makes cowards of us all. I hope we will sit down and make a conscious decision to not miss the true meaning of this holy season—the birth of our Savior.
Even as I write, I sense His sweet presence asking me if I will make room in my busy schedule for Him this Christmas. (I am a pastor. If I am not careful, the busyness of ministry can creep in and cause me to miss “it.”) Will I be in tune with His Spirit and what God is doing on planet earth or will I miss “it?”
The call is going forth from Heaven this Christmas. “Will you make room in your heart for Me?”
The choice is ours. Will we be part of the “inn” crowd or one of the “stable” few?
Last week, November 25th’s Pastor’s Pen had the last of the Bible Quest for 2018. This is to give time for you to complete your questions, find any you may have missed, and turn them in, so that I can check them. If you have missed some of the questions and wish to try and get them before time runs out, please text me at 423-754-0750 and I will send you the questions you need. Remember, there is a $100 gift card to the one with the most answered correctly. Final day to turn in questions, answers and scripture reference for answer is Sunday Dec. 16th. The gift card will be presented on Sunday Dec. 23rd. Just so you know, There were 160 questions this year.
Until next week, Love and prayers,
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Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.