With Christmas festivities and celebrations come thoughts of family as we gather to celebrate and worship the newborn King.
It is my goal to center my celebrations around Jesus just as we did when we set up our white ceramic nativity a couple of nights ago, putting Jesus at the center of the nativity. 
God continues to reveal my heart to me and where my treasure is. I've given much thought to a verse I read early in my college days that was disconcerting to me:

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."
Matthew 10:37-38

I wondered what God was trying to tell a young woman who had lived with her family in one house for 18 years, had extended family within miles of her, and loved the security of growing up in one place her entire life. I had to ask myself at that time if I loved my family more than Christ.

Fast forward to today when I've moved several times, left family, church family and good friends to follow Christ in ministry and this verse in Luke hit me between the eyes:

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:26

I've had to find the answer, for those of you who know me very well, you know my relationship with family members is the most important one after my relationship with Christ.
These passages along with others tell us to count the cost of following Christ. Jesus does not encourage us to abandon our family responsibilites, but wants "unqualified allegiance to God and His Kingdom. Our love of God must take precedence over every other human relationship."
(ESV Bible Notes).
"Unqualified allegiance" will look different for me than it does for you. This is where the rubber meets the road(what does that mean exactly? 🙂 )
Praying God continues to point my heart toward Him this Christmas which then helps me to love others whether family, friends or neighbors.
Where does my allegiance lie this Christmas?