Posted on Sunday, Dec 20, 2020 by Pastor David
“I took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt... 12 So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain.” – Genesis 13:10, 12 (NLT)
From the time I was a small boy, I was the one who ensured that my family followed all the wonderful Christmas traditions we had together. Even when my sisters became teenagers and sleeping in was more commonplace, I was still up at 6 a.m. on Christmas morning waking everyone up–as was our tradition.
We would start our traditions the weekend after Thanksgiving. We would get our Christmas tree up and decorate the house while listening to Christmas music for the first time that year because that was our tradition. On Christmas Eve, we would open one present, and then go out to look at Christmas lights.
After, we would come home, eat cookies and drink hot chocolate, and then saunter off to bed. My oldest sister lead the way, carrying the Christmas candle because that was our tradition. As we settled into bed, my dad would read “The Night Before Christmas” because that was our tradition.
Christmas morning, my dad would read the Luke 2 Christmas story, and then, we would open presents. Because our traditions created so many amazing memories, I have carried many of them over to my children.
Amid it, though–when I took a step back–God revealed that the things we traditionally did to focus on the real reason for the season simply became something we endured. The distractions of traditions, decorations, and presents become the enjoyment. In this, what may appear to simply be a delicate distraction can become the desire, which will inevitably dictate the direction of our heart, mind, and soul.
We see this reflected in our verse which describes the time that Lot was initially distracted by the attractions of the region of Sodom. Fast forward to the end of the story of Lot and his family, his wife was so distracted by the enticements of Sodom that she lost her life, and his daughters lost their morality because of it. As 2 Peter 2:4-10 warns, once you allow the distraction, it is a slow and daily deterioration. Distraction can become a desire, which can become a destination.
The holiday season can offer an array of distractions from the main purpose of the season. It can become a destructive path when we start believing these distractions can produce peace and joy in our lives, rather than the One who came to give us true love, joy, and peace. This year, specifically, the distractions may not come from tinsel and bows but from lockdowns and masks.
Here are some thoughts to consider as we enjoy, not just endure, the season to guard against unhealthy distractions:
1. Be Purposeful.
Clearly identify the purpose of the season for you and your family. Be purposeful in developing special times that reflect that purpose. Jesus came to bring hope, hold onto His hope that He brings.
2. Be Prudent.
Identify significant distractions that could detract from the purpose and find ways to eliminate or mitigate them. If you keep your eyes fixed on the purpose, rather than pleasing family, trying to impress, and trying not to disappoint, it will help to keep you focused.
3. Be Proactive.
Especially in a world that continues to become increasingly materialistic, it is even more important to be proactive to maintain the purpose of the season by setting boundaries (Proverbs 22:28) and teaching why the boundaries are important to ensure the distractions do not replace the purpose.
- What are some distractions that you will need to mitigate or eliminate?
- How can you be purposeful to ensure distractions do not overshadow the Reason for the season and enjoy it?