I saw an idea for a Christmas tradition which was to read through the book of Luke all the way through. If started on the Decmeber 1st, reading a chapter a day, this will take you through Christ’s entire life by Christmas Eve. I’ve really been enjoying it.
What I haven’t been enjoying very much is my children. Starting from about 5:30 (yes 5:30 a.m.) they get out of bed wanting food or chocolate milk, and are extremely whiney. Even after they get what they want, the whining still continues and by 8:00 a.m. I’m ready for nap time.
What does this have to do with my Christmas reading? Everything. You see, I’m currently in the middle of Jesus’s ministry where he is teaching, healing, and casting out demons all the time. From the time He woke up til the time He went to sleep, the crowds were all around him. Thousands of people who wanted something from Him. They wanted to hear Him teach. The wanted to touch Him. They wanted Him to feed them, to rid them of physical impairment or illness. They wanted to watch the demons flee before Him. Even His own disciples wanted Him to save them from the storm. People walked from all over to get a glimpse of Him, and those who couldn’t walk alone, were led or carried to Him.
They were a needy people. And they wanted Jesus to meet those needs.
I realized that my kids are very similar to the crowd.. Now obviously there are only two of them so caring for them is not nearly as overwhelming as caring for thousands. But at 5:30 in the morning it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. From before I’m even out of bed, they make it clear they have needs that must be met immediately. They bombard me with what feels like a million request, then get annoyed when I don’t instantly meet those demands. And denying them something all together basically sends their world crashing down. Yes, it’s enough to make me want to lose my temper…and I often do.
But in noticing the similarities between the crowds around Jesus and my kids, I couldn’t help but stop and compare my reactions to Christ’s. As I’ve said already, endless whiney demands of the little people in my life make me want to scream. I’m tired, they’re tired and none of us have great attitudes. Yet Jesus, who was also tired, instead of “losing it” had compassion on the people. He knew some were only using Him, yet he healed them, loved them, and taught them anyway. He showed grace to those who questioned Him and argued with Him. It never once says he yelled, gave a deep sigh of exasperation, or stormed away because he couldn’t take it anymore.
He gave until he was utterly exhausted, then He gave some more.
Now, obviously Jesus could show love and compassion in such demanding circumstances because He is God. But we are called to be holy as He is holy., We are called to strive for Christlikeness. Which means I am called to respond to my children the way Jesus responded to the crowds: With kindness and compassion, not complaining or expecting anything in return.
I know I can’t do this in my own strength, but I know God can help me, because I’ve seen Him respond with kindness and compassion before, I know he can do it now.
So if this is a struggle for you, let me encourage you to do one thing. Before the demands begin, before you even roll out of bed, ask God to help meet the needs of your little people with the same love and compassion He did. And in the middle of those demands, ask again. And when you are coming to the end of your rope, ask again. You see, God never tires of meeting our needs. He never slumbers or sleeps. And it’s through perfecting His strength in our weakness that He receives the most glory.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.