Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 15, 2013


It happened twice this weekend. My wife, without trying, caused me to feel less than spiritual as I look toward Christmas Day and the birth of Christ.  She absolutely loves to view nativity sets, and I … actually don’t think much about them, even when I see a beautiful one.  Friday night we were driving through a small community close to our home and there was (you guessed it) a nativity scene right in the middle of town.  Genel was excited and wanted to send the mayor a note for his courage in allowing the real meaning of Christmas to be portrayed.  Quite frankly, unless she had mentioned it, distracted Mike would have driven right by it without noticing. And then Saturday she decided to discuss with me the desire she had to purchase a particular (not cheap) nativity set.  In her own persuasive way, she proclaimed that we could buy it on sale after Christmas, and that we would have it the rest of our lives.  At that moment (shamefully), all I really focused on was the cost.

Now before you think of me in a negative light, Christ is everything to me. But it’s easy for me to move through the Christmas season acknowledging, but not really focusing on, the Baby in a manager.  I have taught the prophecy of Christ’s birth, preached the passages related to the virgin birth, and am more than thankful that God chose to send His Son to be our Savior.  I can speak eloquently about how the Baby born in a manager one day would die on a cross and be resurrected.  But honestly, I can very easily be distracted from looking at that Baby and reflecting on the consequences of His birth.

And then on Christmas Day, I sometimes tend to feel a bit uneasy that I haven’t prepared emotionally and spiritually for the wonderful day.  My wife’s subtle reminders this weekend have caused me to take stock in how I am preparing to worship my Savior this Christmas. I don’t want to just look at nativity scenes, but to look at my Savior, born in Bethlehem … in a manager.  God became flesh!  At this moment, are you distracted, or preparing for Christmas by really looking at and reflecting on the Savior? I tend to believe that most Christ-followers struggle with the same distractions I do.  Make a choice with me to really look at the focal point of all nativity sets this Christmas … Christ the Lord!

But there is something more. I also believe that many Christ-followers struggle with distractions all year long, and would willingly say that focusing on Christ is more of a wish than a reality. In a profound passage of Scripture from Hebrews 12:2(a) we find these words …

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Looking unto Jesus is an attitude of faith.  To really live a life of looking to Him takes intention.

When you and I fix (look) our eyes on something, we are placing emphasis on it. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, is the best wait to live. Direction in life, skill for living, wisdom for decisions and great joy can all be found by living a life that looks at Christ first and foremost.  You and I can live moment by moment, day by day and year by year fixing our eyes on Him. The question is … will we?

I can’t re-create all the missed nativity scenes I may have ignored, and you can’t go back and have a re-do on all the missed opportunities to live your life looking unto Jesus.  But all the moments, days and years we have left are in front of us.  I’ll make you a promise.  I will zero in on the real focus of the nativity scenes I come upon this Christmas, if you’ll consider looking unto Jesus with intention moment by moment, and day by day as we move into another year.  And we’ll both be glad we did!


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