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Read

"He answered them, 'Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.'" Mark 7:6 CSB

Reflect

Christmas season is among us, girls. If any of you braved the streets this weekend, you know that shopping can be a sanctifying experience. People are out in the hustle and bustle trying to make sure the latest deal is secured in the spirit of giving, and if I must confess, materialism. As I began to reflect this morning during my Advent reading, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me where my focus was headed. Christmas, if we let it, can become a stressful time where Christ becomes less of a priority and keeping up with the Joneses is a goal.

In Mark 7, Jesus is speaking the words of the Isaiah 29:13. Jesus’ motivation by quoting these words is basically telling us to “check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.” Scripture can give us a gut wrenching heart check. Because of our sinful notions, when we lose our focus and we spend time focused on the world, our hearts can become further from God and closer to worldly things.   

We can utter spiritual things over the Advent season, such as “Jesus is the reason for the season”, and we can decorate our houses with spiritual things, such as the nativity set that you inherited from Grandma after 40 years, but we need to be careful sisters. Where are our hearts? Are we focused on the season or the reason for the season? Are we taking time over the Christmas season to focus on what Christ came to this Earth to do? Are we in awe and reverence of the Savior’s birth, or have we become so jaded that it’s just another story? Ask God to give you fresh eyes this season. Ask Him to help us all to remember Christ and to not let our hearts stray.   

Pray

Father, I thank You so much for this season. As we take time to reflect on the birth of Your Son, give us fresh eyes, and keep our hearts close to You. Thank You for sending Your Son for sinners like myself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Your Turn

Where is your focus this Christmas season? Is your heart far from God, or does the story of Christ’s birth bring awe and reverence to your life? Read the story of Christ’s birth in Luke 2. Ask God to give you a fresh perspective.