Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Celebrate Christmas

I want to encourage each of you today to celebrate Christmas. And to try and jettison any baggage that the 'Holiday' season is putting on you. Try and think about how you can put your focus on Jesus, and how you can encourage others to do the same.

Now, it's going to be hard. Most of us, down in, want to keep the people around us happy. Since we do, we end up going crazy every year looking for perfect gifts, shopping, traveling every weekend, baking, cooking, generally going nuts lest we upset someone and ruin their Christmas. We don't think about what we're doing to ourselves, and chalk it up to 'not being selfish at Christmas.'

You are not being selfish to realize that Christmas is not about you, your family, Santa, or presents. It's about celebrating the Lord Jesus Christ. We've attached so much other things to that celebration, it's like we're having a birthday party, but insisting that everyone present get gifts, be made happy, satisfied, everyone but the One who the party is for. Would you want someone to make your birthday all about themselves? No, but we do it every year at Christmas.

And to those of you who think Christmas can be ruined: If you allow someone the power to ruin your celebration of Christ, your worship of the One who died for you, your relationship with Him needs some fixing. If someone tells you that you are ruining their Christmas: point them to the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb, and lovingly remind them that Christmas will only be ruined by ignoring who Christ is.

I will celebrate, I will go to the parade, some parties, I will give and receive gifts, because these activities are not bad in themselves, but they are no substitute for reflecting on Christ this year. Make a habit of taking 5 extra minutes to focus on Christ for the next 25 days. Then keep that habit.

Moving toward the Horizon,

And for those of you who want to cringe---are you spending more time shopping, planning gifts, parties, etc...are you spending more time decorating and sending cards than you are telling people about Jesus? Are you someone who could make it to shop at 5 AM the day after Thanksgiving, but is late to church and Sunday school? Will you travel 100s of miles to shop, give up a whole day or weekend, but can't be inconvenienced to make it to church on Sunday nights or Saturday activities? That's not a statement meant to induce guilt...but if it brings some conviction, how will you change?

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