Are all your Christmas gifts bought, wrapped, and under the tree? What about the stockings? Do you (like me) wrap each stocking stuffer to prolong the gift-opening fun? Have you decided on the menu you will serve your family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Did you finish all your grocery shopping? Have you cleaned your house yet? On top of all of that, do you have a party planned at your house for friends? Have you attended your work party yet and do you know what you’ll wear? What about all the unexpected things that creep in? Doctor appointments because someone isn’t feeling well? Last-minute gifts you need to purchase? Rush to the store for an ingredient you didn’t realize you needed?
In the middle of all of these things and more, you’re told to keep in mind what the Christmas season is really all about. You feel guilty because you haven’t had time to think about Jesus all day, yet you know He’s the reason you celebrate. Well, you’re not alone in feeling this way. This is the Christmas challenge for so many of us, perhaps even all of us.
Unfortunately, too often Jesus’ birth is not in the forefront of our minds. We get bogged down with all our responsibilities of making Christmas special for everyone else that it’s easy to forget the manger, and we find ourselves responding to Jesus as the Innkeeper had done long ago in Bethlehem. “Sorry, no room.”
Just typing these words makes me want to weep. Jesus is most important, after all! He’s what it’s all about! As He carried the cross to Golgotha, He thought of me. How can I possibly be too busy for Him? But how can I keep Jesus in my thoughts in the midst of all the hustle and bustle around me?
Here are some things I have found to be helpful:
- Don’t neglect going to church no matter how busy you are. It helps you stay focused.
- Start each day (and/or end it) with time spent reading your Bible and prayer. I know you’re busy, but certainly you can read one chapter of the Bible and pray over what you’ve read. You can even pray while driving to work or running an errand.
- Listen to Christmas music that honors Him. I’m not saying you can’t listen to Jingle Bells, but don’t let secular Christmas music be the only music you listen to.
- When with your Christian friends, talk to each other about your faith and about Jesus. The mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Luke 6:45). If your heart is full of God, surely you will want to talk about Him with others. In the process, you will build each other up in your most holy faith (Jude 1:20).
- Display a Nativity scene in a prominent place in your home. Looking at it is a great reminder and it provides an opportunity to explain to the children in your family what you believe.
- When reading greeting cards where a Bible verse is included, take a moment to meditate on the verse.
- Remember to pray throughout the day. When someone gives you a gift or when you open a card, whisper a prayer for them. When wrapping gifts for your family, pray for the recipient. When cleaning your house, pray for your family and friends who will be entering your home. Try your best to maintain an attitude of prayer.
If we look for ways to include Jesus into every part of our day, stress is reduced and our hearts begin to fill with joy. I want to challenge you to purpose in your heart to be like the shepherds who looked up from their work and responsibilities, and heard the angels singing. They left everything to find Jesus. Let’s be like the wisemen, who saw the star from a distance. They turned their back on the distractions around them and kept their eyes on the star until they found Jesus.
It’s so easy to lose sight of what Christmas is really all about — the birth of our Savior! Let’s decide right now that today will be a day dedicated in thanks to Him. He came because He loved us enough to do so. It was the only way we could ever be saved. He willing left the splendor and safety of heaven, making himself vulnerable in a sinful world that would reject Him — and He did it for our sake! Today, let’s show Him our love by giving Him priority in our day.
Merry Christmas!!! May your home be filled with family, friends, food, fun, and cheer. But mostly, may the presence of God’s Spirit fill your homes and your hearts. May you truly experience Immanuel, God with us.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6