We hear it often, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Though true, is not our stating this old memorized cliche not mere lip service in a lot of ways? It is easy to say, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” only to continue with our long list of to dos, cookie baking, and gift wrapping.
The truth is, we won’t make Jesus the center of our celebrations if we don’t intentionally prepare our hearts daily, starting right now. Jesus can quickly become a by-product, an afterthought, as we become distracted by the glittery lights and sparkly boxes. Jesus is not just the reason for this season, but He is the reason for all the seasons.
So what is life, this season, asking you to memorize? To write on your heart? To make a priority?
What does it mean to make Jesus the reason for the season in your heart? In your words? In your actions?
One of the Pharisees asked [Jesus] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. ~Luke 7:36
We say, Jesus, you’re the reason for the season. Come to our home, eat our food, and watch us open our presents. We’ve made you a priority. We said you’re welcome to come here. But so did the Pharisee.
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. ~Luke 7:37-38
A vastly contrasting scene ensued upon the arrival of Jesus to the Pharisee’s house. This lady, a great sinner, knelt at the feet that had traveled many roads and alleyways that day –before sanitation was an understood concept. She was weeping and her tears fell on Jesus’ feet. Do you understand what that means? She wasn’t merely sitting behind, or at the table. She knelt so near her tears were literally able to wash Jesus’ feet. It was a deliberate and an intentional portrayal of her humility and understanding of who Jesus is, and for the reason he had come.
Then, we see her throw caution to the wind, as well as her money, to shatter her alabaster flask at the feet of Jesus. She gave freely. She gave abundantly. She held nothing back for herself. She gave him everything.
As we continue to gaze through the window of this captivating scene, we see her use her hair, long and beautiful, to wipe the feet of Jesus clean. She did not care that her hair was now sticky and holding the dirt that was meant for someone’s feet. She did not care that her beautiful hair was now matted and needed washed. She cared so little that she then bent over the worn feet of Jesus and kissed them.
This woman, this sinner, was a woman of humility, gentleness, and courage who loved deeply and profoundly. She loved more than the Pharisees were capable because she realized the magnitude of her sin. She saw herself as she rightly was – unworthy.
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. Luke 7:47
Love – complex in all its meaning. To grow in love, we must grow in our understanding of the Cross. We must plummet the depths of its meaning and grasp the truth of what it accomplished. The mysteries of the Cross are profound, but the mysteries of the Cross are essential for us to be able to love deeply and sacrificially. We need new eyes to see so we may love like this dirty, wretched sinner of a woman.
So I think this Christmas season, life is asking you to memorize the Cross of Christ. May it not be said of us that we are women who speak one thing and do another. May we exude love this season because we have been forgiven much.
May we each kneel daily at the Cross, give of our time and money freely, and sacrifice all for the Kingdom.