“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
All it takes is a little bit of yeast to leaven an entire loaf of bread. It just takes a little to lift the dough just like it only takes a little bit of evil to ruin your day, your life and Christmas. All it takes is one harsh word, one grumpy sales associate or one last minute project at work to ruin your holiday spirit. All it take is one little irritant introduced in a small amount that grows to contaminate everything. The “yeast” of Herod and the Pharisees was a growing evil and corruption that spread throughout the land. It may have appeared as a small cloud on the horizon at the moment but it would eventually grow into a tornadic force on a hill called Calvary.
All it takes sometimes is a little bit of something like a misunderstanding, an argument, bad news, sticky issues, rush hour traffic, travel delays, the sniffles, missed connections, colicky babies and adults, overtime work without overtime pay, bah humbugs or Ebenezer Scrooges to contaminate Christmas. As the Advent season comes swiftly to a grand conclusion this Sunday I wanted to add to your “to do” list a list of a few more “be carefuls”.
Since the final shopping-gifting-family-cooking-fellowshipping-cleaning-working-entertaining-Christmas Play-going-Christmas Cantata-ing-visiting-caroling-decorating-lighting-eating-giving-receiving-wrapping is on – be careful out there! It’s Christmas!
Be careful to keep Christ in your Christmas no matter how chaotic it seems under the Christmas tree or at the dinner table. Be careful to lead with the love of God when encountering hard to love people even hard to love family members. Be careful to give thanks in everything even if things don’t work out according to plan. Be care to be reasonable when eating your sugar plums,triglycerides and other high caloric food items this weekend including your chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
Be care to take patience with you wherever you go because the lines are long and tempers are short this time of the year.
Be careful to open every gift with gratitude. Be careful to open your heart to the things of God and close it to things that assassinate your mind and emotions.
Be careful not to lose the presence of the Lord in the stack of presents or in the lack of presents. Jesus is the reason for the season so make this a season with The reason.
Be careful not to lose the love of God because those you thought were loving failed to love you in ways you needed or expected.
Be careful not to let the ghosts of Christmas past mess up your Christmas present.
Be careful of those little grinches that love to steal your joy because someone did something or didn’t do something .
Be careful to be with those you care about and be weary of those who wear you out.
Be careful to take the Lord with you wherever you go, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Be careful to set a place at your table for someone whose family is far away or for someone who does not have a family.
Be careful to thank God in everything. Gratitude makes every day brighter.
Be careful to remember some of the most precious things in life can’t be found in a store.
Be careful to know that finding peace in earth begins with what’s happening on the inside of you not on the outside.
Be careful out there. Everyone is not merry. Don’t be dragged down by someone else’s bad day or holiday blues.
Be apart of the cadre of the faithful who will come, O, Come let us adore Him!
Share your positive Christmas memories in our comment section today. If you have no positive Christmas memories, you can create them this year!
If every Christmas has been a spiritual high, praise the Lord!
If you never had a Merry Christmas, allow the Lord this year to demonstrate an authentic joy that comes from a divine love whose birth we celebrate! It all begins during Advent. Find a place of calm in the midst of chaotic Christmas preparations. Be still. Listen to the still small voice of God. You are loved with a Divine love that does not fail. It is a love that covers a multitude of sins and from which you cannot be separated.
Christ, the savior is Lord! Merry Christmas!
Stay tuned: I’m going to challenge you to make 2017 A Big Deal year!
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie