Beyond the Manger: December 18, 2015

Matthew 6:25-29

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[b] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[c] 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

Matthew 6:25-29

25 Here is the bottom line: do not worry about your life. Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will drink. Don’t worry about how you clothe your body. Living is about more than merely eating, and the body is about more than dressing up. 26 Look at the birds in the sky. They do not store food for winter. They don’t plant gardens. They do not sow or reap—and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird. If He looks after them, of course He will look after you. 27 Worrying does not do any good; who here can claim to add even an hour to his life by worrying? 28 Nor should you worry about clothes. Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow. They do not work or weave or sew, and yet their garments are stunning. 29 Even King Solomon, dressed in his most regal garb, was not as lovely as these lilies.

Devotional Content

You may know someone who is getting anxious about Christmas.  I’m not talking about the kind of anxiety a child feels when the arrival of Christmas seems to be an endless task of waiting that never ends.

Instead, I am talking about the person who is getting more and more concerned about accomplishing all the tasks, preparing all the decorations, hosting all the events, wrapping all the packages and feeling exhausted along the way.  You may know someone like that or you might be experiencing a first person journey along that road.

If that’s the case, todays Word from the Gospel of Matthew offers both instruction and an invitation.  The instruction is ‘do not worry’ because God loves you and the invitation is ‘do not worry’ because God loves you.  Don’t you love it when the message is clear!

But how do we make that actually happen for our lives?  What is the secret to setting aside our attempts to serve two masters?  How do we find peace when our ‘to do’ list is overflowing and our calendar is about to say 2016 whether we like it or not?

Have you noticed that many of the things we worry about actually never really happen?  Have you noticed that the things that seemed so important yesterday are no longer areas of concern?  Do you believe that God wants the best for us?

Take a moment and just imagine the peaceful scene of the manger in Bethlehem.  Mary and Joseph are there.  Jesus is center stage.  The shephrds, the star, and the angels are all in place.  Suddenly the angels begin to sing a heavenly song, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  Do you know the tune?  Me either!  But I do hear the message…peace…do you hear it?

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