Busy-ness, Christmas, Faith

Christmas: Making Jesus Known

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

“I must decrease that He may increase.” 

~John 3:30

Isn’t this the whole idea of Christmas? Making Jesus known?

The angels worshiped and declared the Savior had been born.

The shepherds worshiped and declared Jesus’s birth. They set aside their work, their busy-ness, their identity, and even their fears of condescension from those higher on the status rankings. They left their livelihood to worship their Messia

Over the past month, I’ve been busy and distracted—in mind and in heart. The boys’ activities, doctor’s appointments, life’s interruptions . . . they’ve all kept my eyes pointed toward . . . 

Me.

The words above, spoken by John the Baptist, really challenge me. I’ve increased in my own priorities. Sure, I need to do things for my family. But at times, I’ve pointed people to me. I’ve relied on myself to take care of my needs. 

Every Christmas season I vow to make the days more about Jesus. I determine to take on less and to be still more and to worship more.

But, honestly? Especially for mothers, this is H-A-R-D. So many things make demands on our time, our hearts.

What if we could set our hearts more on Jesus and less on doing? 

No, some of the things on our lists can not be set aside. 

Maybe, we need to evaluate the things on our lists and determine what are good things, and what are the best things?

Sometimes, we need to let the good things go for a season so we can focus on the best things.

The filter for making these decisions is different for each of us. 

But, with Christmas only a couple of weeks away, I want to decrease so that Jesus may increase . . . in my heart, and in the hearts and minds of those around me. 

What if, in our conversations, we point people toward Jesus and not just toward our shared struggles and busyness? 

What if we encourage each other to seek Him first and not the next check mark on our lists? 

What if we set aside time each day to spend with Jesus?

Even if it’s only ten minutes, He can meet us where we are, refresh us with His spirit and enable us to decrease so that He may increase.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, let’s choose to be like the shepherds and set aside whatever causes us to increase in our minds, or in the minds of others. 

Let’s focus, instead, on the activities, the words, the choices that will cause us to decrease so that Jesus increases in our lives and in our interactions with others. 

And let’s prepare our hearts to worship Him who came to give us life abundant.

In the interest of opening up time to spend with Jesus and with my family, I will be taking a blogging break until my sons head back to school after their Christmas break.

In the meantime, please know how much you, my readers, mean to me.

I love the interactions we share, how you share pieces of your journeys here at my little place. I am praying that you have a joy-filled, Jesus-infused Christmas, and that He gifts you with His presence in surprising ways!

 I’ll see you back here on January 8th!

What about you? What is one way you decrease so that Jesus increases? How do you point others toward Jesus during the Christmas season?

Click to Tweet: What if we could set our hearts more on Jesus and less on doing?

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, and Holley Gerth

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33 thoughts on “Christmas: Making Jesus Known”

  1. Interesting bit of serendipity here, Jeanne, because I just wrote a most on ‘decreasing myself’ for the most recent Five Minute Friday. Here’s the link, if anyone’s interested:

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2018/12/your-dying-spouse-551-spending.html

    Basically, I’ve got to step back and encourage Barb to forge a new life that will support her when I die. The best time to do it, to make the friendships, is now while I’m still here and functional. People can get to know her under circumstances that are as close to ‘normal’ as possible. So I’ll be spending a lot of time during the holidays alone.

    To say it’s easy would be a lie; I get lonely, like anyone. But I live by Big Boys’ Rules, and doing the right thing trumps personal preference.

    Does this point out Jesus? I don’t know. It’s been called a Christlike gesture, but I’m surely not the one to make that claim.

    I want my wife to go on when I’m gone, and not live as a grief-monument to a dead guy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Andrew, thanks for sharing your post here. I intend to read it as soon as I have a minute. Your foresight on Barb’s behalf is commendable. I imagine it can be a difficult balance for each of you in this dance. Your integrity in doing what’s best for your wife is pretty amazing in my book. And yes, I think it can point out Jesus to Barb and to those around you. The trick is doing it with grace, right? I appreciate how intentional you are in preparing for your one-day death.

      You, Barb, and the dogs continue to be in my prayers, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeanne, you have written such a beautiful Christmas post! Yes, I must decrease that He may increase. I need to reduce the amount of self, to get rid of the self-centered, the selfish, the self-important to give God’s light room to shine through me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laurie, thank you for your kind words. 🙂 I never saw this verse as a Christmas challenge until a few weeks ago, when our pastor addressed it. It is hard to get rid of the self-centered, self-important side of us, isn’t it? But you’re right. When we set those aside, we open up room for Jesus to shine in and through us and increase. I hope your Christmas season holds many sweet memories!

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  3. Merry Christmas, Jeanne! Please know that I’m taking John 3:30 with me, tucking it deep in my heart as we continue through Advent. What a tender reminder of Who all this hustle and bustle is about.

    Enjoy every bit of your break, friend …

    Bless you.

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    1. Linda, thank you for your kind words. Isn’t it amazing how God can bring certain verses alive in our hearts and minds at the most unexpected times? I pray we can both decrease that Jesus may increase during this season and throughout the next year. I hope your Christmas season holds healing and special memories, my sweet friend!

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  4. So very heartfelt. Lovely for the season. My challenge is to carry this concept through the year. I am always focus during Christmas but it wanes after the new year. Lovely post. Have a great holiday with your children. They grow really fast and will be gone before you know it. Hug and cherish each moment.

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    1. Anita, thank you for your encouraging words. This is my challenge too. It’s far too easy for me to make too much “all about me.” God is teaching me that, especially right now. I hope your holiday season holds joy and peace as well. And yes, I want to enjoy our moments with our boys. They are much closer to flying from the nest than I’d like. 😉 Hugs to you!

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  5. Beautiful post! Thank you for inviting me to look for new ways to decrease so Jesus can increase. That is the perfect verse to carry with me during the Christmas season. God bless and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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    1. Lisa, isn’t it so hard to say no sometimes? But, it’s only as we open up time and hearts that we can make more room for Jesus. And you’re right, it is worth it! May God fill your Christmas with many glimpses of His love for you and your family!

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  6. That verse challenges me every time! It is so easy to become focused on ourselves and our to-do lists rather than on him. Particularly in the busyness of Christmas it’s so important to take time to stop and reflect. I hope you have a lovely Christmas and enjoy your break!

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    1. Yes, Lesley. For such a short verse, it packs a wallop, doesn’t it? It picks at the pride and challenges us to choose humility, like John the Baptist did. Thanks for your well-wishes, my friend. I hope your Christmas season is filled with much joy!

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    1. Thank you so much, Boma, for your words. I second your prayer. 🙂 May your Christmas season be filled with special memories with loved ones and with the beauty of our Father’s presence!

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    1. Thank you, Michele. In some ways, we’re in a similar stage of life (teens at home, and more. 😉 ). I’m sure you’re choosing intentionality as you walk through this season too. I hope you discover many of our Father’s fingerprints on your days during this season and into the new year!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn! This season is shaping up as continuing opportunities to decrease so that Jesus might increase. I hope your Christmas season holds great joy and many moments with Jesus, my friend. I’ll join you in releasing my expectations and anticipating glimpses of Jesus working in my life.

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  7. Hey everyone, I am sorry for not stopping by yesterday. My sweet mama took a fall last week and broke her hip and wrist. I’ve been helping them out. BUT, I am looking forward to responding to your comments and visiting your blogs in the next few days. Thank you for your patience.

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  8. I long this with you, Jeanne – “I want to decrease so that Jesus may increase . . . in my heart, and in the hearts and minds of those around me.” I’m so sorry about your mom. I hope she heals quickly. I hope you may have a Christ-filled, restful Christmas and blogging break! Blessings of Jesus’ love and hope to you!

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    1. Trudy, thank you for your well=wishes for my mom. I know God was not taken by surprise when she fell. It’s going to be a long recovery, but she’s got Jesus and a hopeful frame of mind. I hope your Christmas holds great joy and many glimpses of Jesus’ amazing love for YOU, my sweet friend. Sending you a Christmas hug and lots o’love!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It is difficult. We have so many expectations for the season, and I fail. But the girls take their finals today, and I’m ready for life to slow down so we can enjoy this time off and focus on our Savior. Jeanne, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. Shelli, It’s true. We do have so many expectations, don’t we? When we strive to live up to them, the failure always seems to be amplified. I hope your girls’ finals went well! And I hope life does slow down for you. Mine won’t, so you can pray for me in the midst of my “stuff” that I can focus on Jesus too. 😉 Sending you a big Christmas hug, my friend!

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  10. Such good thoughts to carry with me as I travel these next two weeks toward Christmas. I love how you are living your words by taking a break. And this right here is my favorite —-> Sometimes, we need to let the good things go for a season so we can focus on the best things.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Jeanne!

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  11. Hi Jeanne. I love playing around with my nativity set every Christmas and each year, I add more obscure animals to it (afterall, the wise men weren’t really there were they?) So, this year, I had a cat on the roof, a bunny rabbit in the rafters, a goose by the shepherd, a cockrel in the hay and a dog by the crib. Thanks for a great post. Happy new year to you.xx

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    1. Happy New Year! Please, please forgive me for not responding before this. I wanted to. December was spent trying to help my parents after my mom’s injury. It was time well spent, but other things were sacrificed, including giving attention to my blog. Sigh.

      I LOVE that add things to your nativity each year. And you’re creative about it.:) Thank you for sharing that. I may have to incorporate that idea. 🙂

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