During this time of year, its not uncommon to hear some people lament the fact that they aren't feeling the "Christmas spirit." Ever feel like that? We expect to be filled with thoughts and emotions that correspond with the season (such as hope, joy, peace and love), yet if truth be told, we feel like we are drawing a blank.
Sometimes this is because we really aren't engaging in Christmas as God intended. Instead we buy into the idea that the all the shopping, spending, Santas and secularism will some how balm our aching souls. Rather than looking into the Word for direction on how to truly experience Christmas, we look to the world. If you find yourself in this predicament, I'd like to offer you a few ideas on how to re-engage with the Christmas that God intends for you to enjoy.
First off, Christmas is a time to WORSHIP. It's amazing to think that during the celebration of Jesus' birthday, He's often the last person on our minds! The expectations of the season, what with all the trips to the mall, the work parties, the school events and more, have a way of pushing Jesus to the sidelines during the season that bears His name. My advice is this: Find ways to get before the Lord to worship Him. Purpose to go to church. Participate in a Christmas Eve service. Plan on sharing in family Advent activities. Pull Jesus in from the fringes of Christmas and make Him the center of the season!
Second, Christmas is a time to SERVE. The essence of Christmas is that God sent Jesus to the world to minister to our deepest needs. Jesus demonstrated throughout His life the heart of a servant, healing the sick, feeding the hungry and comforting the hurting. Ultimately, He would die in our place to pay for the sins we could never pay for ourselves. Christmas is a wonderful time to take all the time, talents and treasures that God has bestowed upon us and use them to serve someone else whose needs are greater than our own.
Finally, Christmas is a time to SHARE. I love how Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, described the type of ministry that his son would be involved in. Luke 1:76-79 describes Zechariah's proclamation:
"And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
Like John the Baptist, we too have the opportunity and privilege of explaining to others the true meaning of Christmas. We are able to share information and provide illumination in regards to the purpose of Jesus' incarnation, as well as give direction on how to properly respond to Him.
Worshiping, serving and sharing can take a Christmas season that is marked by stress, boredom and confusion and give it a sense of joy, hope and purpose!
May God grant us a Christmas season full of wonder, grace and peace.