Like just about everyone else, I find Advent to be a time where it is hard to maintain a proper focus.
I’ve got stacks of catalogs that have shown up in the mail and lots of names on my gift-buying and card-sending lists. I’ve got schedules and meetings and meetings to make schedules.
All of that is why I memorized this verse a few years ago:
“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Psalm 119:37 (ESV)
Straight to the point, isn’t it?
“Worthless” is not referring to poorly made merchandise or outdated technology. It refers to anything and everything that is not of the Lord and his Kingdom. Too often our gaze is fixed on things that are fleeting and transient and–ultimately–irrelevant.
Don’t get me wrong. Time with family and friends is important. Demonstrating our love for them through the giving and receiving of gifts is a wonderful way to enact love. But obsessing to the point of anxiety over shopping lists is not a virtue. Harboring jealousy towards the blessings of others is not an acceptable hobby.
Focusing on the wrongs things is not only an emotional black hole, but is also spiritually deadly.
So I’ll share with you another passage of Scripture that has been doing a serious number on my own head and heart over the past six months or so:
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV)
There it is. A portrait of proper focus.
Set your hearts and minds on things above as you eagerly await the arrival of the Lord.