By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
In my case, I’m probably the king of clutter. People walk by my office, look at my desk and just shake their head and move on. I like to refer to my “mess” as “organized clutter.”
But no matter what “spin” I give it, I’m still guilty of cluttering my desk/office space with stuff. One dictionary definition defines clutter as a “disorderly heap of assemblage.” Another defines it as “to fill or litter with things in a disorderly matter” while yet another definition calls it “a state or condition of confusion.”
It’s one thing to do it with your desk or your room at home; it’s another to allow clutter to keep you away from what’s really important.
Too many times, people (Christians included) are guilty of cluttering their lives with things that don’t matter. I’m guilty as charged.
As I wrote this column, it was exactly two weeks before Christmas. Yet, my Christmas spirit was nowhere to be found. I had attended a party or two, bought some presents, but my joy of the Christmas season was not there. Who’s to blame? Nobody but myself. I have let outside distractions rob me of my Christmas spirit. I have allowed things that I have no control over to consume my thoughts and rob me of the joy of Christmas.
Who can stop it? Nobody but myself, with one caveat. I have to want to stop it and I have to turn over what I can’t control to the One who can – God. I know that it’s easier said than done, but that’s the only way you can get rid of the clutter that may be robbing you of your Christmas joy and spirit.
Here’s some things I am in the process of doing to get me back on track. By the time this paper hits the mailboxes across Tennessee, Christmas will be less than a week away.
(1) Pray more fervently and intentionally than ever. Lest you think that means I don’t pray, that’s not true. I pray every day, but my prayer needs to be more focused.
(2) Read the Christmas story from Luke every day. Repetition is good. It is a daily reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. It is the birth of the Savior of the world who came to die on the cross in order that ALL, who believe in Him and repent of their sins and confess that Jesus is Lord, will be saved.
(3) Intentionally focus on the needs and hurts of others. Do an act of kindness this Christmas season. Joyce and I were in a restaurant recently and saw a police officer and decided we wanted to pay for his meal. We asked the waitress to give us his check but someone else “beat us to it.” We were actually disappointed, but we knew there would be other opportunities. It’s easy to want to be a blessing to those you know, but it’s also important to be a blessing to someone you don’t know as well. Allow others to see Jesus in you. When you think about others, you focus less on yourself.
(4) Above all, remember that Christmas is not about me or you. It’s all about Jesus. He is the reason we can have joy at Christmas. Whether it’s clutter or an illness or the death of someone this year you loved and who is no longer with you, turn it over to Jesus. He will give you strength and joy when you think it’s impossible.
And, last but certainly not least, count your blessings. As the song reminds us, “name them one by one. You will be surprised at what God hath done.” Merry Christmas!