One of our family's favorite readings at Christmas is an essay by C. S. Lewis titled "What Christmas Means to Me."We enjoy his description of exchanging gifts: "The modern rule is that anyone can force you to give him a present by sending you a quite unprovoked present of his own. It is almost a blackmail. Who has not heard the wail of despair...when, at the last moment, just as everyone hoped that the nuisance was over for one more year, the unwanted gift from Mrs. Busy (whom we hardly remember) flops unwelcome through the letter-box, and back to the dreadful shops one of us has to go?"
Christmas kept in this way gives, as Lewis says, "much more pain than pleasure."
I wonder if his analysis of our Christmas celebration represents much of what we do in Jesus' name. How much do we do out of duty rather than out of love?
How subtle our attempts are to please God with our spiritual habits--Bible reading, prayer, church attendance. It is not that we are to leave these things undone, but it's possible to do these activities without developing a love relationship with Jesus. He wants our attentiveness to Himself--not just to a list of do's and don'ts.
Dear Jesus, may all I do today be done out of love and for Your pleasure.
"May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God" (2 Thessalonians 3:5).