The occasion was a city-wide art contest. They were told to paint paintings entitled "Peace." While the judges were understandably attracted to this beautiful pastural scene that a local painter had painted. It was a green pasture. It was the puffy white clouds and the beautiful blue sky and a little boy going by with a fishing pole over his shoulder and a quiet brook and some birds. That got second place. First place - well, the picture was of an angry, stormy day at the sea shore as the ocean was beating against the cliffs and the cliffs were stark and dark because of the darkness of the storm. The sky in this painting was angry and black, green and purple. You had to look twice to figure out what in world this had to do with peace. But if you looked halfway up the cliff these little baby birds were nestled underneath the wing of their mother, and they were sleeping totally oblivious to the storm that was howling all around them. Now it's the Christmas season. It's suppose to be about peace; but, if you feel the holiday pressure like I do, seems more like a storm, a stress which leads us into those birds.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Christmas Survival Kit."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Isaiah 30:15, "in quietness and trust is your strength." What a great verse for the chaos that Christmas has become. You're in the middle of it right now. The shopping - the entertaining - and getting all the cards out - "Oh, who did we forget. They sent us a card, we better send them one." - All of the church events that are going on - maintaining all the family traditions that the kids insist on or you do - the guests are coming - family time - you know, they're flying in - they're driving in. Suddenly the Christmas season seems more like "Stress on Earth" than "Peace on Earth," and then God speaks "in quietness and trust is your strength."
If you are going to protect the heart of Christmas and not succumb to the hassle of Christmas, you must protect a quiet spot at the beginning of each day where quietness and trust will be your strength. Think about those birds in that painting. Peace was not the absence of a storm, it was peace right in the middle of it. They found their quiet spot. Well, the secret is the same for you. The more hectic the season is, the harder it is to get your quiet time with the Lord and the more you need it.
It would be tragic if Jesus gets lost in the process of you getting ready for His birthday. If anything, make your time with Jesus more top priority than ever. First of all because Christmas becomes an idol if it crowds out Christ. Secondly, you need to be with Him to keep everything in proportion. Unload your concerns on Him. Focus on the relationship with Jesus. It's a love relationship above all else. Eliminate the overload. Ask the Lord if there's things you can eliminate. Simplify as you ask for His wisdom. What's your Christmas survival kit? "Quietness and trust is your strength." It comes from non-negotiable times spent with the Prince of Peace, not peace that's the absence of a storm but peace right in the middle of a storm.