Get Down this Christmas!
I like to think that I am a good dancer, but if I'm honest, I’ll admit -I am not. But I love to dance! I grew up with disco balls and really good music in the 70’s and the 80’s. My first date with my husband was a dance – our High School Senior Prom (Read Love is a Verb). Over the many years, Jody and I have attended many dances including military events, parties, weddings, and “boogying” around our pool! We have taken lessons from a local studio and on cruise ships, and practice whenever we can. And yet, when we dance, we make people laugh! When we “get down” on a dance floor, we just look silly. Jody’s moves are most akin to marching. He has very mechanical arm movements and steps back and forth. Sadly, he does not keep to the beat of the music. He is close, but uh, no, not really. I, on the other hand, have great rhythm. But feeling the pressure to be creative, and because I hate doing anything too routine or expected, I always find myself dancing “outside the box.” I twirl, kick about and often do my own version of the “stanky leg.” Together, I’m sure that Jody and I look like a bad rendition of Dance of the Toy Soldiers. We know this about ourselves. But when invited out to dance, we eagerly accept! So I know when I say, “Let’s get down this Christmas,” our longtime friends and family smile, cue up the music, sit back and prepare to be entertained! But for today’s post, I’d like to focus on another way to “get down” over the holidays.
This Christmas, I want to encourage you to get down... on your knees. Spend time in prayer and meditate on God's word. Take some time from the wrapping of gifts and trimming of the tree and reflect on the true meaning of this season. If you are like me, you’ve been running full steam ahead for a few weeks now. Your devotional time and prayer life may be suffering. Often at this time of year, we get so busy doing good things that we neglect to do important things – things that please God and actually feed our souls! So, let’s remedy this today. Please spend the next few minutes considering my words. Then, find some time for praise and worship of our wonderful Savior and our loving heavenly Father. Put the FIRST THING first this Christmas and then keep it there throughout the new year! Keep reading, friends!
Let’s consider the story of Christmas. Not the, “up on the housetop reindeer pause” one, but the one that starts with an angel saying, “Fear not, I bring you glad tidings of great joy (Luke 2:10-11)” and ends with a sinless God in the trappings of a man – a man who laid down His life for you and I (Luke 23:46) so that we can be made clean and spend eternity in the presence of the Almighty God (John 3:16). Kick off this holy season right! Boogie over to Romans 8:1-14 and appreciate the beauty of God’s well-orchestrated plans. Then, pick a version of the story of Jesus’s birth from one of the gospels and read it aloud. I know … reading aloud feels a little like a Sunday School Christmas Play. But words of truth need to be spoken – our hearts benefit from the hearing of God’s Word.
Next, consider the beauty of the simple, yet powerful story of Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25. I read this story again every year, and this year, it came alive in a way that it had never done before. This is the living, breathing part of the Word of God! The Word is made alive in us through God’s spirit living in us. In this way, He awakens truth after truth. I am so thankful that God’s word is so rich that it cannot be completely digested in any one reading. It must be savored over time. As I read this story this year, it was not Mary who impacted me as it was in years past – it was Joseph. I was blown away by Joseph’s faith and his desire to follow God, even when his situation looked very bleak! Joseph discovered that the woman to whom he was engaged was already with child – not his child. I believe he was hurt, confused and possibly angry – Joseph was very much a human. Like us, he was full of pride and doubt.
Society would have fully supported Joseph making Mary an outcast. But Joseph didn’t allow his ego to dictate how he handled the situation. Nor did he allow his fears to overcome him. Instead, Joseph listened to the Word of God, spoken by an angel, and faithfully did what was asked of him. He took Mary home as his wife – no questions asked. Consider the trust and faith Joseph had in God’s Word. He denied the voice inside him that said, “Think about yourself and do what is best for you!” Instead, Joseph obeyed God. And because of Joseph’s obedience, God used and blessed him. Wow, husbands! What a role model! Joseph’s story is yours to learn from. You, dear reader, have also been given instructions: Love your wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Be a Joseph and faithfully live this out! Deny your inner voice that pushes you to put your interests first. Instead, lay down your life in obedience to God’s command in Ephesians 5. To the world, selfless love makes no sense. But when you truly love your wife, more than you love yourself, you give her the best Christmas present ever!
Next read the first chapter of Luke. As Luke tells the story of Jesus’s birth, he starts with the telling of John the Baptists birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth, an older couple who were righteous in the sight of God. I’ve read this story many times but this year the part that speaks to me is that Elizabeth was used by God at an old age, when naturally in this area, to give birth to a baby, she was ill equipped. We are not too old to be used by God. We do not have an expiration date. Let that sink in. I may put limits on how God can use me, and maybe you do too, and maybe Elizabeth had, but He does not. God is God and can do as He wills, if we will simply obey. I want to be like Elizabeth and graciously take each task God gives me, not worried about my own skills or assets but instead take each opportunity to step and twirl depending on God’s lead. This thought echoes through the head of this middle aged, or maybe slightly older 😊 woman, being prompted to write a blog on godly marriage. I may not be cool or even technologically equipped, but I am obedient. And I’m not afraid of stepping outside the box when the spirit moves me! Twirl and kick away each week! And when I obey I get the thrill of meeting many wonderful sisters and brothers in Christ and watch God’s love cover a multitude of hurts in their marriages, healing and restoring with each passing beat! And in the case of Elizabeth- she experienced the blessed babe in her womb leap for joy in the presence of his Savior and our future King! That was quite the experience- a holy break dance, if you will.
Spend a few more minutes in the book of Luke. In chapter 2, verses 6-7, you find another powerful part of the story of Jesus. This is the part that we have sung about, sermonized and discussed – when Jesus was born, there was no room for him. Bethlehem was bustling with excitement and commerce. Yet the most important thing that happened to and for the people of Bethlehem almost went unnoticed. Jesus did not come to the world with a big bang or in a flashy show, but quietly and peacefully, Jesus slipped into our world and forever changed it! Considering this part of the story of Jesus, the obvious questions for all of us are: Do we have room for Jesus? Do we squeeze Jesus into our lives, or do we allow Jesus to live through us? Are we too busy with good things that we neglect God’s commands to do the best things- love Him with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves? (Matthew 22:37-39) Are we willing to be the arms of God and embrace this hurting world?
Now take a few more minutes before you rush off, grab your spouse’s hand, get down on your knees and thank God for sending His son to save us and ask God to lead you in spending the holiday according to His plan. Allow the glory of God to shine through your life and your marriage during this beautiful season.
As for me, the only dancing that I will do well is the one where I allow the Holy Spirit to lead. And if I follow- it's sure to be a grand dance! Merry Christmas, friends! Keep reading!
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2: 10-22