Having a Christ-filled Christmas
Over the past few years, I have grown increasingly frustrated over the celebration of Christmas. The stores, the traffic, the blaring of“Jingle Bell Rock” in the mall. Now please don’t groan, this is not a post on if Christians should or shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. In my opinion, that’s an area of Christian liberty. Nor is this an effort to discuss the “Jesus wasn’t born in December anyway” argument. My intent is to simply share with you a little of my displeasure and where the Lord is leading our family.
Last Christmas was a turning point for me. It was an incredibly busy time and in hindsight, I committed to more than I should have. It was too much. We did WAY too much. And if I’m completely honest with myself, I realize now, that Jesus was honored very little. My exact words to my husband a few days post Christmas were, “I NEVER want to feel this way again!
As the time is drawing close to celebrating Christmas again, one of the questions we are asking ourselves is, “Lord, how can we honor YOU with this day and still have a time of fun and joy?” As we discuss it more, we’ve concluded that we want Christmas day and the days leading up to it to be a little more “reverent.”
Here are a few things my husband and I decided to focus on during the celebration of Christmas this year. You might find them helpful.
- Reading through the gospel accounts of the birth of Christ through the month of December. On Christmas morning, we read through at least one of the accounts of Christ’s birth before our children open their gifts. If your children are old enough, create a daily reading plan for them so they can have a thorough knowledge of what was recorded by each of the gospel writers.
- Making an effort to purposefully reach out to our neighbors. Not everyone with a Christmas wreath on his or her door knows Christ. Ask your neighbors how they are celebrating the holidays. It may be a wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas with them.
- Spending dedicated time with our parents. Watching our parents age is bittersweet. We are really beginning to treasure the time we have with them. If your parents are not in the area or if they are no longer with you, consider visiting a senior church member or someone in your community and bring them a small gift. Sometimes a small, simple gesture of kindness, can be just the encouragement someone needs.
- Including a geography and/or history lesson. It is so easy to read through the bible as if it were just another “story,” and totally miss the historical significance of what we’ve read. Take the time to pull out a map and have your family locate Bethlehem. (Sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” while you’re searching.)
We are hoping that by shifting our focus to sharing the love of Christ with our family and neighbors, that we will have a renewed sense of joy during the holidays. Now, will we still give gifts? Yes, a few. Will we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas? Most definitely! Ultimately, we want to be able to look back at how we celebrate and feel assured that it was more about Christ and less about who got what.