Ahhh….Christmas…the most wonderful time of the year.
I absolutely love the lights, the trees, the traditions, the music…this year I’m even into those cheesy Hallmark movies. I love Christmas pj’s, Christmas sweaters, the traditional foods (especially the fudge), the special church services, shopping for gifts and the challenge of keeping the gifts a secret. (Which at my house is almost impossible!)
Then, (let’s be honest) there’s always the anticipation of wondering what Santa is going to bring YOU! (I’m not sure what it is---but I hope it’s purple!)
Still, as much as I enjoy all of these things that make up the holiday season, as my last blog post for 2017, I thought it was important that we all remember one truth.
Here it is:
Christmas is about Jesus.
Mind blowing---isn't it?
And yet, in the busyness and excitement of the season, I think it’s something we all need to remember. Even more than just remember, I believe we need to explore exactly what this truth means and how we can apply it to our lives. So here goes:
#1 If Christmas is about Jesus, then we shouldn’t use Christmas as an excuse to compromise.
Okay, stick with me on this one.
Most of you know that I live and work with my brother, Jamie. And even though he’s a complete nut job when it comes to surprises and he will search the house until he finds his Christmas presents, overall throughout the year, he is a really good guy. He loves Jesus with all His heart and is completely dedicated to serving Him; he’s kind and generous and is really the best brother a girl could ever ask for. Honestly, he tolerates A LOT of “chick” stuff before he’ll give me a hard time. (Like when I painted the kitchen purple or living with the ongoing symptoms of perimenopause.)
However, as awesome as he is, if his birthday came around and I planned a day of chick flicks and manicures, followed by a meal of chicken pot pie (which he loathes), he’d be pretty annoyed. After all, this is HIS day---I shouldn’t make it all about me and do things he doesn’t like.
The same thing is true of Christmas. Rather than using the excuse “But it’s the holidays” to disobey God’s rules; we need to maintain an even deeper commitment to obeying God’s commands as our way of showing that we love Him and want to celebrate that He came to earth.
Remember sin is still sin even during the holidays. Christmas doesn’t give you an excuse to drink alcohol, treat people badly, or even overspend and disobey the Bible’s financial principles. Because you love Jesus and it’s His birthday we’re celebrating, even during the holidays we need to stay away from evil and do good.
#2 If Christmas is about Jesus, then we shouldn’t ignore Him.
I know, I know, this season is B-U-S-Y. (Did I mention I have a lot to do?)
And sometimes amidst all the once-a-year-things we want to do, it’s easy to forget to keep doing the most important things in life. And yet…..the truth that Christmas is truly about Jesus reminds us that even during the holidays we need to keep doing the most important things and spend time with Jesus in prayer, keep reading and studying your Bible, remain faithful in church attendance and even though you have a lot of additional expenses, keep paying your tithe. (I mean, seriously, how rude is it to stop talking to someone because you’re too busy celebrating their birthday? And robbing them to buy other people a gift---girl, that’s just wrong!)
The truth is that celebrating Jesus birthday at Christmas goes beyond setting up a nativity scene. Instead truly celebrating Jesus’ birthday means that we continue to give Jesus His proper place in our hearts and lives.
But how do we do this?
I mean there are only so many hours in a day and so much money to go around?
This brings us to #3:
To Properly Celebrate Jesus’ Birthday—We Should Ask Jesus How He’d Like Us to Celebrate.
Don’t. Freak. Out.
I am not going to go all super-spiritual and say that we should spend our whole holiday season in fasting and prayer. (If you’d see me eating Christmas cookies in my Buddy-the-elf-christmas-pjs, you’d know that this is not me.)
I am a huge believer that the holiday season is meant to be enjoyed. However, one of the personal lessons that I learned years ago is that I don’t enjoy the holidays if I’m running around like a crazy woman trying to do everything, be everything, and fulfill every one of society’s expectations. Rather than stressing myself out trying to be holiday-superwoman, I’ve learned to ask Jesus how He wants me to celebrate the holiday season.
What parties does He want me to attend and when should I stay home?
For what projects does He want me to volunteer? Which can I say, “Sorry not this year?”
Who should I buy gifts for? How much should I spend?
Is there someone who needs to be loved or receive a special Christmas blessing?
How does He want our family to celebrate?
And then I have peace that I’m following His direction; I relax and enjoy the holiday.
Here are two things I’ve found about Jesus’ plans for my holidays:
He rarely over packs my schedule (Matthew 11:28-30) and with quietness and contentment come the best holidays. (1 Timothy 6:6)
Each year as I’ve asked Jesus how He wants me to celebrate His birthday I’ve found that His plans are always better than my ideas or any of societies mandates. I know the same will be true for you.
Here’s my last tip for celebrating Jesus birthday:
#4 Remember: It’s a Celebration
Yes, Christmas is about Jesus---but it’s also supposed to be FUN!!!
It’s not supposed to be a time when you’re so stressed you’re depressed; but instead, it’s a time to celebrate the abundant life Jesus came to give us including all God has done for you and the people He’s placed in your life.
For years I’ve said that the best way to celebrate Christmas is to choose the activities and the traditions that you enjoy the most and then choose to enjoy participating in them.
Have a blast decorating the tree.
Turn up the Christmas music and boogie down on while you bake cookies.
Wear that Christmas sweater even if it isn’t the most slimming item in your closet, and watch those Christmas movies without analyzing the fact that they are completely unrealistic.
Love Jesus, love your friends and family, and celebrate like you’ve never celebrated before.
Remember, birthdays are meant to be celebrated and since Christmas is Jesus’ birthday—it’s okay to throw a party.
And that’s what I’ll be doing for the next week. We’re taking a break from blogging and focusing on celebrating the day that Jesus stepped into the world and revolutionized the planet. It’s my hope that you, too, will take some time to relax, enjoy, and celebrate the One we love---Jesus. We’ll see you in the New Year!