Making Christ the Center of Your Christmas
Note: This blog is a sermon excerpt from “He Came... The Word Became Flesh.” You can stream the audio of the sermon or find the full manuscript HERE
Losing Christ in Christmas
Christmas comes with so many fun traditions that we love to take part in, from the additional time with our families we treasure, to the gifts we share, the lights we behold, the decorations we hang, the food we enjoy, and the many other fun traditions our families hold on to. All of these things are great on many levels, but it is easy to lose the real meaning of Christmas in the midst of all of these traditions if we are not careful. Christmas is about far more than traditions, isn't it? It is about the eternity altering reality of God becoming man. This season is all about Jesus.
If we are going to make Christmas all about Jesus in our homes we are going to have to be intentional, and now is the time to start planning. If you want to see Jesus as the central theme of your Christmas celebration and hope that it will all just fall into place you are either naïve or lead a charmed life. That isn't how life works, is it? Calendars and schedules fill up quickly. When we do have time, we find ourselves tired from all that we have crammed into our schedules, and in the end the things that we hoped would happen never came to fruition. We all know this to true, right? So what are you going to do? How will you make Jesus central to your Christmas season?
Making Christ the Center of Your Christmas
Here are a few things we try to do around our house this time of year to keep Jesus at the center of our celebrating...
One of the things that my family loves the most this time of year are Christmas lights. We go to the River Walk to see them. We drive through the Round Rock Light Tour in Old Settlers. We have driven around our neighborhood looking at them and I am guessing we will find ourselves in the car again before too long with the Christmas music playing as we take in the beautiful lights that outline so many of the homes around us. How can we make this all about Jesus? What if we took time to stop and talk about how the beauty of these lights will never be able to come close to the beauty of the true light of the world, Jesus? The beauty of these lights should point us to the beauty of the True Light. The time that you spend in the car with your husband, wife, kids, or friends can be a time of worship as you speak to each other about the beauty of Christ and how His light has changed everything in your life.
Gifts are a staple in Christmas traditions, aren’t they? What if you took time with your family to express why Jesus is the greatest gift that has ever been given before you exchange the gifts you got one another? What if you reminded one another that these gifts that you are sharing are not given out of tradition, but are given out of celebration as you rejoice over the greatest gift ever given, Jesus? What if you took time to pray before gifts had been handed out and thanked God for the gift of Jesus? In doing this we could ensure our traditions exalt Jesus rather than distract from Him! This could remind us that He is the reason we are celebrating and even our gift giving could be a time of worship!
Thanksgiving gets 30 days of thankfulness on FaceBook and Twitter, which I think is great! I love reading about why my friends and family are thankful each day in November, but what if December go the same treatment? What if we used the 31 days of December to share 31 reasons why Jesus is the greatest gift ever given? This would be a daily reminder to you and everyone who follows you on social media what this season is all about. it would cause you to meditate on the rich gift of Jesus and refocus your heart on a daily basis.
Christmas mornings are a great time for family devotions. You are all there. Usually, no plans to leave the house as everything is closed. You have a captive audience. Take time and open up the Word of God and read through the first couple chapters of Matthew or Luke. Go over the Christmas story together. Discuss it. Reflect on it. What a great way to set the tone for the day! Husbands/Dads, don’t just wing this. You have all of your family as a captive audience, put some thought into this. Lead well!
For those who have kids...
Much of this will be lost on young children, but there are certainly ways to communicate Jesus even to them. Now that Avery is old enough to understand and appreciate birthdays we bake a birthday cake to Jesus every Christmas morning and sing Happy Birthday to Him. We want to communicate to Avery that this day is all about Jesus and nothing makes that more clear to a 3 year old than a birthday!
Jesus, Santa, and the True Hero of Christmas
If you are a household that enjoys the fun of Santa Claus I want to encourage you to pay special attention to who gets top billing in your house this Christmas season. I grew up in a house that celebrated with Santa Claus and I don't think there is anything wrong with this, however, when Santa overshadows Jesus he has begun to overstay his welcome. I get that kids are going to be more naturally excited about the jolly dude who brings toys, but as parents we have to double down on our efforts to reiterate that Jesus is better and that the gifts that He offers don’t come once a year, but everyday for all of eternity for those who have placed their faith in Him. Jesus does not have a naughty and nice list, His grace overcomes our sin when we repent and place our faith in Him. Let’s make sure our kids know that Jesus is the hero of this holiday.
These are just a few ways that you can help center your Christmas season on Jesus. One of the keys is to start planning now and to be intentional. How does your family keep Jesus at the center of your Christmas? I would love to hear in the comments below...
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