Obsessive Compulsive

I’m a little obsessive compulsive. I like things a certain way. I like when the lines of the screws in an outlet cover line up with each other. If I go to a friend’s house and they have a picture frame tilting too far in one direction, I’ll try to level it. When things are out of sorts, I can’t stop thinking about them until they’re corrected. You know, like a crazy person.

In the Christmas story, we read about a woman named Anna. We get enough information to know her life is potentially out of sorts. She got married when she was young. After seven years of marriage, her husband passed away and she remained a widow until she was 84 years old. In a culture that frowned on women who were unmarried, it would have been easy to obsess about finding a new husband, about fitting into the culture around her.

But instead, she obsessed about God. We read in Luke 2:37, “She did not depart the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.”

I obsess about imperfections. But Anna obsessed about Perfection, the One who is never out of sorts, who is always beyond what we could ever imagine. Her obsession led her to worship. Her obsession led her to Jesus. Anna’s obsession is in the right direction.

This Christmas, what’s consuming your thoughts? Decorations? Gifts? Travel plans? These are all good things, but what if these things can help us turn our attention to God? What if we can turn decorating into an act of worship? What if giving gifts can remind us of the gifts God gives us? Like Anna, how can we obsess in the right direction this season?

Read Luke 2:36-38

For Everyone

A good story has a compelling opening. Some of the best stories ever written have familiar first lines that, even if we’ve never read the book, we can quote by heart. When we open the New Testament, at first glance it seems that Matthew didn’t get the memo about...

You Were so Close

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. ~ Matthew 2:3 Everyone has had the experience of going to look for something and not be able to find it, only to have someone else point out that it was right there in front of us the whole time....

Distracted by the Details

I admit it - my nativity scene is biblically inaccurate. I have three wise men and a camel next to the shepherds, looking on at the newborn Jesus in a manger. To me, the wise men’s visit to see the Messiah is one of the most fascinating parts of the Christmas story....

Included

For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” ~ Luke 2:30-32 Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit? Like you didn’t belong? It is horrible. You...

In The Quiet

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. ~ Luke 2:19 Throughout the Bible, we see God showing up on the scene and giving instructions or doing an amazing miracle. Often, this encounter is followed by periods of silence and quiet. Noah,...

Urgent and Unrestrained

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less and less spontaneous. I like plans. I like to know where I’m going, who’s going to be there, and where the exits are well in advance. I like being prepared and I don’t like surprises. Yeah, I’m the guy who shows up to the airport...

World Power

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. ~ Luke 2:1 A few years ago I visited the White House. At one point during the tour, there was a very sudden, very noticeable flurry of activity. People were moving...

What’s in a Name?

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. ~ John 1:6 I was named after my uncle. I never met him because he passed away before I was born. Our oldest son was named after my grandfather who passed when he was a toddler. My youngest son was named after a dear...

The Gift of Our People

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. ~ Luke 1:39, 40 Who is your person? The one you go to when your plans have gone to pot or your life has jumped the...

Afraid of the News

“Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.” ~ Matthew 1:20b The Christmas story is filled with angelic visits. The angel Gabriel visits Zechariah. Then he visits Mary. An unnamed angel visits Joseph. An entire flock of angels...

Redefining Impossible

Have you ever set a goal that seemed impossible in the moment? Running a marathon, baking a perfect loaf of bread, or starting a new career can all seem impossible. Until you do it. Reaching a goal we once thought impossible gives us a new definition of what is...

Joy Out Loud

"How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.” ~ Luke 1:25 (NLT) Have you ever met someone with an overwhelmingly positive attitude? Sometimes it can be annoying to be around people who are always cheerful and upbeat,...

Sign Language

Have you ever lost your voice? Maybe you lost your voice after scream-singing at a Dave Matthews Band concert. Maybe you got so sick it was too painful to speak. If something like that has ever happened to you, you may have noticed it’s difficult to communicate...

Keep Calm and Carry On

What if you knew, without a doubt, that your team would win the Super Bowl this season, or who the next president will be, or what features the next iPhone would have? Who would you tell? Would they believe you? The angel Gabriel has a tough job. He has to tell people...

Out of Obscurity

Every four years, the Summer Olympics are held in one major city around the world. They’ve been held in London, Atlanta, and, in 2020, people from all over the globe will watch the Olympics in Tokyo. The impressiveness and beauty of these cities makes the games...

Darkness to Light

The people who walked in darknesshave seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.Isaiah 9:2 My daughter wakes up in the middle of the night. A lot. She’s just doing what little kids do. But it hurts me. Not getting up to...

God is with Us

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel ~ Isaiah 7:14 Have you ever felt like God wasn’t with you? Have the circumstances of your life ever made it seem that God couldn’t...

Retirement Planning

Some people can’t wait to retire. They have visions of a condo on the beach and sleep uninterrupted by alarm clocks. In this dream, retirement is where the business of work ends and the business of life begins. That’s not the case for King David. Retirement isn’t an...

How Bizarre

Have you ever noticed that sometimes nature is really weird? Maybe you’ve seen the viral video of turkeys walking in a creepy circle around a cat (look it up if you haven’t – it’s pretty wacky!). Animals do some pretty bizarre things. The Bible has some strange animal...

Upgrade

If you don’t know it already, you will need to upgrade your cell phone. It may not be today, or even this year, but an upgrade is in your future. Your phone might shut itself off for no good reason, the battery will drain quickly, or the apps will begin to glitch...

No Pressure

You and a friend sit down at your favorite coffee shop. You get your latte, she’s sipping her coffee. You catch up about your families, work, and she asks how that book you’re writing is going. There’s a brief, thoughtful silence in your conversation. She leans in...

Who’s Going to Clean Up This Mess?

As a child, I was a slob. I’m sure there was carpet in my room, but it was unseen for all the clothes, old candy wrappers, and used dishes I kept on top of it. As you might imagine, this was a breeding ground for all sorts of creepy crawly things: ants and spiders to...

The Big Picture

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. ~ John 1:14 The apostle John lived with Jesus for more than three years. He walked, talked, ate, slept and followed Rabbi Jesus. When God’s Spirit moved John to tell his story about Jesus, he went all the way back...

Good stuff, right?!

Share this post with your friends!