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Before You Take Down the Tree

The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice: Psalm 97:1

When do you start taking down the Christmas decorations? Our community mandates that they are down by January 15. Some people start putting away the decorations Christmas Day. Others never seem to get around to taking all the decorations down. (I’m not judging. Okay, maybe a little judgment.)

Psalm 97 is the Psalm for Christmas Day. I want to pause just a moment today before we move on. For so many of us, the Advent and Christmas season get swallowed up in busyness. Special worship services, extra choir practices, children’s programs, Christmas Eve services, gift giving, and Christmas lunch with family or friends make up this season. These are all good and wonderful things. I love every bit of this time of year.

Now that the calendar tells us that Christmas 2018 is in the past, I hope that we can take time for a “Christmas Sabbath.” I am thinking of a time to give thanks, reflect on the season, slow down, and experience God’s love.

The Lord is King! Let the earth rejoice. Ps. 97:1

In the quiet of our “prayer closets,” let us rejoice that our God is exalted above all kings, presidents, and even bosses. Let us exalt our Lord not in public worship or in song, but in the solitude of our own prayer time.

All worshipers of images are put to shame . . . all gods bow down before God. Ps. 97:7

In this time, let us examine our own hearts. What are the idols that have crept into our Christmas celebrations? Gift giving? Spending? What about other idols? Politics? People? Food? We don’t talk much about idols today, but in this moment of quiet, let us reflect on those things that push God to the sidelines of our life. Let us confess that we are distracted by things that will bow down before our God.

Light dawns for the righteous and joy for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11

In my mind, this verse is whispered in my heart as I sit by a quiet mountain lake. The sun rises above the mountains and across the lake. The sun brings indescribable awe of creation and Creator. Joy wells up within me. This joy comes not from my righteousness or my upright heart, but because the righteousness of Jesus is given to me. In quiet moments beside a mountain lake or in my prayer closet, I pause to acknowledge this gift that is too often taken for granted in my distractedness.

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! Ps. 97:12.

Prayer: My dearest Lord, who came to dwell in our world and who brought the gift of righteousness, allow me the grace to pause and breath in your peace. Let me stand in awe of your light and love. In this moment, before I get wrapped up in the “next” of my life, let me give thanks to your holy name! Amen.

Mike Oldham

Ministry and Mission Coach


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