5 things I try desperately to remind myself at Christmas time:
1. It’s about Jesus. Between the hustles and bustles of shopping, decorating, and planning events and parties, I constantly have to remind myself that Christmas is about Jesus. Nothing else. Even among the Christian population, Christmas has become more about Santa Claus, presents, decorations, catchy songs, and nostalgic emotions than about the humble birth of our Savior. Was Jesus born on Dec. 25? Who knows… but that’s not the point. Christians celebrate Christmas to recognize the birth of Emmanuel, God with Us. For us at least, Christmas is about Jesus.
2. I need to take time to be with my family. My fondest memories of Christmas time growing up have nothing to do with elaborate church productions, well-planned Sunday School parties, or shopping. My greatest memories are eating, playing games, watching movies, opening presents, and reading the Christmas story… with FAMILY. My children and wife need to know that during the Christmas season, I want to spend time with them. I love my church. I love my friends. And I will spend time with all of them. But I will carve out most of my time to spend with my family.
3. Non-Christians don’t get it. They take “Christ” out of Christmas. They forbid their employees from saying those two dreaded words (“Merry Christmas”) and replace them with two more tolerant ones (“Happy Holidays”). They forbid “Christmas” parties and “Christmas” trees, but allow “Holiday” parties, and “Holiday” trees. They refuse to teach that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but praise and promote Santa Claus and “Holiday cheer.” They just don’t get it. But… what can we expect? So yes, I’ll fight to “keep Christ in Christmas” as the bumper sticker reads, and yes, I’ll advise all who will hear on the true meaning of Christmas. Yes, I’ll be active in promoting Christmas as a religious holiday in our public and governmental institutions. I’ll even reach out to non-believers and share with them the hope that the Christmas story brings. But when they refuse to accept that Christmas is about Jesus, I can’t get angry and burn bridges. Their greatest need is not to recognize that Christmas is about Jesus. Their greatest need is for Christian people to build relationships with them – all year long – that will lead to the sharing of the gospel message in its entirety. Their greatest need is to surrender their lives to the Living Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Shop early. I know, I know… hardly deep and spiritual. But this is real life here, and I have got to remind myself to shop early, or I will have contributed to the demise of my remembering #1. People are crazy in general. But they lose all common sense in department stores the week before Christmas.
5. It’s okay to have fun. The general progression of generational eras is that the convicted younger generation will react egregiously – a word I learned during the LSU/Florida game this year 🙂 – against the perceived spiritual failures of their parents and grandparents. Santa Claus is not the Devil. Non-Christian-themed Christmas songs are not satanic. True, we need to be careful and intentional about educating our children and our culture on the real meaning of Christmas. But we can certainly have a little fun while we do it.
What about you?
Of what do you have to remind yourself at Christmas time?
Grace and Peace,