I hope you all are having a good week thus far. I don’t know about you all, but I sure enjoyed my time off over the long Thanksgiving weekend. I know my family did not want to return from Michigan, but there is something about a routine that works for me. When I get off my routine, things just don’t seem to work. This is where I’m finding myself today.
I struggled all day yesterday and this morning with what to write about. Nothing seemed to jump out at me like it normally does. I got to thinking about this and I realized it was because I had not been spending much time with God. Not only did my daily readings become sparse over the long weekend, but any time with God (praying, talking, etc.) was minimal as well. It is not that I have been filling my time with secular books or TV, but a lot of my time is going to prepare for Christmas. I’ve been busy making Christmas lists, shopping, and on-line shopping as well, and while these things are important, they should not be more important than God.
I have always tried to make Christmas more about Jesus and less about Santa and gifts, but I am rarely successful. I can get so caught up on the secular part of the holiday that I give Jesus only small portions here and there.
I am not saying that the secular part of the holiday is all bad because I think it is fun family time and it reminds people of their “softer” side. For the majority of people, it seems Christmas is like a life time-out. It is a time to focus on our families, giving, and loving others. I think this is something Jesus could get behind. Christmas also gives us a platform to share Jesus more freely. However, the sad truth is that a lot of Christians, including myself, get so caught up in the “Santa” side of things that we fail to capitalize on our opportunities to share Jesus with others and be Jesus to others.
This morning I have taken some time to do a gut check and I’ve been wracking my brain on how I specifically make Christmas about Jesus. I am ashamed to admit that most of our Christmas traditions have little to do with Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong, I take my kids to church, they sing in Christmas concerts, do the whole “shoe box thing”, and we even participate in a Christmas Eve program, but is that enough? The only other Christmas tradition I can think of that involves Jesus is that on Christmas Eve we read the Christmas story out of the Bible, sing religious Christmas songs, and give Jesus our “gifts” for the upcoming year. What kind of gifts? Well, each one of us, kids included, take a turn sharing what we plan to do for Jesus next year. It is not much, but it is intended to help us to keep our focus on the real reason for Christmas. This year, I plan to take it a step further and make each family member write down and we will make an ornament out of it and place it on the tree. I will then have a place to hang it throughout the year as a reminder for us all of our promise (gift).
I do not believe I have done enough to make Christ the center of my favorite holiday. Yes, it is okay to love the songs, the lights, and yes, the gifts, but those things shouldn’t be our main focus. Today I am asking for your help. How do you keep Jesus at the center of your Christmas? What are your favorite Christmas traditions that involve family and Jesus?
Please don’t be shy, we want to hear from you. We need to hear from you.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,