If I’m honest, I often feel quite inconvenienced at Christmastime, especially when Christmas falls on the weekend. While most get to spend the day with family and friends, we church techs will spend it in the tech booth, or preparing for the next service. While our church enjoys a morning with their family at home, opening presents and having breakfast, I’ll be at church rehearsing for the service. And after everyone else is home, I’ll be tearing out rental gear. My family will get the short shrift (again) this year.
And if I’m really honest, I get a little tweaked that most of the church staff will be off over Christmas weekend, while I’ll be there from early in the morning until late at night. The week leading up to Christmas, rather than being filled with last-minute shopping and getting all the final details set for my family’s Christmas, will be filled with hundreds of last minute details as I prepare for the services of the weekend.
As I was praying—well, if I’m still being honest, I was complaining—to the Lord about this the other day he reminded me of something. And while it was a gentle, heartfelt reminder, it hit me more like a splash of ice cold water on a hot day. The reminder was this: It wasn’t really terribly convenient for Jesus to come here, being born as a baby, growing up in our sin-infested world and ultimately dying on the cross for my sin.
That’s one of those perspective changers that I really need during Christmas. You see, while I am at heart a servant, I very much prefer to serve others on my own terms. When I have to serve people on their terms, I tend to get annoyed. But it’s the words of the Apostle Paul that snap me back to a better reality.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!
After that little attitude re-adjustment, the Lord reminded me of a truth that I often forget: It is not what you get from life that brings joy, but what you give.
Now, I’m still a work-in-progress on this front. But I’m trying to remind myself of those truths this week as the days get long, the work is hard and I sometimes feel like I’m at this all alone. In just a few days, literally thousands of people will stream through our doors and hear the story of the birth of Jesus—perhaps the most amazing story ever told. And I get to be a big part of telling that story.
Yes it’s a lot of work, yes my hand still hurts from that cut, and yes I go to bed sore every night. But I go to sleep in a warm, soft bed, not in a feeding trough. And I cut my hand because I wasn’t paying attention, not because someone whipped me with a cat of nine tails.
So rather than focus on what a huge inconvenience Christmas is for me, I’m trying to focus on the reason we’re going through all this work in the first place. May Jesus be ever more clear, present and real in your celebration of Christmas this year. It is His name on the day, after all!