exchanging christmas stress for the savior

Exchanging Christmas Stress for the Savior: Holiday Hope From the Psalms

‘Tis the season… Ready or not, IT. IS. HERE.

We are in throws of checking tiny bulbs and fuses, and decorating the tree, children’s programs and teacher’s gifts; mile long lines in the stores for “the gift”, online surfing to avoid the mile long lines, cross country trips in packed out mini vans, 24/7 Christmas Carols on Satellite Radio; ugly sweater contests and cookie exchanges, meal planning and holiday baking, company parties and oh, the family gatherings! Christmastime is affectionately and demonstratively known as… “THE HUSTLE and THE BUSTLE.”

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” right? Unlike the words we sing regarding our Savior’s arrival in the Christmas hymn, all is NOT “calm”! It is in the chaos of this time of year we can VERY easily lose our composure to the noise and clamor that actually begins from within our own very souls.

The King’s Model…

God gives us a glimpse into the soul of King David in Psalm 131. King David was a man who knew external and internal clamor. He was a sinner, yet he was a man after God’s own heart. In this Psalm we have been given access to the internal life of someone who has learned how to have composure.  David’s life exhibits in this Psalm the peace that surpasses all comprehension mentioned in Philippians 4:7, and we receive an invitation that is more wonderful than any party invitation we will receive this holiday season; an invitation to that same inner peace!

Psalm 131:1-3

“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.”

The Heart Evaluation…

What do you look like on the inside? Does your heart reflect verse two? We see described a composure that one must learn. It is like a child who learns to sit on his mother’s lap no longer wanting her milk, but trusting he will be provided for when the time is right:

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

If the answer to the question about your heart is, “No”, what is going on in your heart? If you are like me, you could easily get caught up in busyness and become preoccupied like Martha! Are you irritable like King Saul, losing your composure by hurling hurtful weapons at those called to serve alongside you? Are you fearful of the storms of life as Christ’s disciples were? Are you doubtful like Thomas of all our Christ is capable of? If so, how do we regain composure when the depths of our being are roaring with busyness, fractured relationships, doubt, fear and problems of every kind?

Cause of “Heart Hullabaloo”:

The peace that is spoken of is one that can only be learned as it is purposefully practiced. It is learned by faith through having an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It is by faith we can face our greatest problems.

A Prideful Heart:

“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up…”

This problem is greater than any of the outward activities I mentioned previously. The first problem mentioned in the Psalm that David had mastered, is that our hearts are lifted up; prideful. I want to be respected, appreciated, or understood. I want good health, appliances that always work, a classier wardrobe, straighter teeth… I want, want, WANT! These desires and demands seem natural, but really, they create hullabaloo within our hearts. When we are not proud, then quietness and composure begin to reside within.

A Condescending Heart:

“…my eyes are not raised too high.”

We also are guilty of looking down on others with hearts that belittle others. Today’s young moms have a phrase for that form of clamor. They call it the “judgy mom” look. The way I consider others as well as treat others. will reveal whether or not I can truly enjoy this quieted soul of which David speaks. Again, it is a conscious decision that will bring mastery. A condescending, haughty heart is to be replaced with a compassionate heart.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

Controlling Heart:

David also mentions a third obstacle to inner peace that he had conquered: “I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.” Essentially what David was saying is that everything we have is a beautiful gift of the Lord, so why do we go after things that are beyond us? What if this season, we purposefully focused on the greatest gift ever given? What would happen to the clamor in our hearts if we spent this season (and every season) focusing on the life changing power of the gospel? When we purposefully remove ourselves from that which rattles the cages of our hearts: Pride, condescension, and control, then we too can say like David, that our soul is “calm and quieted.”

The Hopeful Heart:

Dear sister in Christ, do not be like the nation of Israel who longed and hoped for the coming Redeemer; the Savior of their Nation, and missed it looking for a King of their own making. Every day, rather every moment, which we allow the racket of our hearts to crowd out the peace of Christ, we are like just like Israel. Instead, “Hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever more.” What does that look like?  David describes it in Psalm 130:

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!  O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.  I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”

My prayer today is that you experience the true inner peace that comes from the Lord’s merciful forgiveness of our sins as we come in humility placing our hope in Him and His Word! Oh, that a beautiful sound would resonate in our hearts as we wait in awe upon our Awesome Lord! Now, we too can sing “All is calm.”

Merry Christmas!

The Glory of God changes everything


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