I love Christmas! I love the lights, finding the best tree, and trying to sing carols with me kids. Presents are one of the first things people think about during the Christmas season, and it’s easy to get so caught up in the giving and receiving that we miss the true gift we have received. The true spirit of Christmas is the the presence of Jesus, God’s power, God’s plan. God in person. We celebrate the true gift this year, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…”
With all the wonderful celebrations, there is the basic problem that no matter what you receive, how high the price tag or elaborate the technology, things will always disappoint. For some of us, Christmas is synonymous with disappointment, and statistics show that depression and suicide increases around the Christmas season. When we reflect on the past year and hope that something (the carols, glad tidings, benevolent hearts) will change things, disappointment quickly follows.
The True Spirit of Christmas
If you want to have the best Christmas this year, you need to understand and embrace the essential message of the season. This message is summarized in one name: Immanuel. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us) Matthew 1:23. Isaiah goes on to tell us that His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Christmas is all about Jesus, the Christ-child.
Don’t Lose Jesus
Luke 2 tells us that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration when Jesus was 12 years old. After the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the family packed up and headed home. When they finished their first day of travel (about 20 miles) they realized that they did not have Jesus. In all the commotion, they had forgotten the One whom the Passover was all about. This is a great illustration of what today’s Christmas celebrations can be like. We get caught up in all the noise, activities, and confusion and forget the One we claim to be honoring. He gets left behind somewhere in the crowd.
Don’t lose Jesus this Christmas. Find those quiet moments in quiet places where you can draw near to Him, speak to Him, and hear His voice. Did you ever feel as though you lost God from your life? One day as you were going about your affairs, you suddenly realized that something was missing. That’s when it dawned on you that you hadn’t given a single thought to God all day, or maybe for several days. That connection with heaven you had always enjoyed seemed distant at best. It was almost as though He were gone.
If you feel far from God, guess who moved? God hasn’t gone anywhere, but maybe you have in the busyness of the season. Revelation 2:5 gives us the keys to having a Christmas revival this year.
Turn from the patterns and activities that that have you ensnared and distracted. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.
- Remember from where you have fallen
Remember the rhythms you used to have when you were close to God, and return to that place.
- Repeat and do the works you did at first
Put on the patterns of the new man.
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” -Ephesians 4:22–24
Let’s make a real effort to remember Him by taking time for the Word of God. Don’t just try to work it into your busy schedule. Change your busy schedule and make time for God’s Word. Let’s remember Him by taking time every day to be in prayer. Give your time to resting in the presence of God and listen to His voice. Remember Him with your involvement in church, giving priority to gathering with God’s people for worship and prayer. Remember Him as you look for opportunities to share your faith with others. The Christmas season is such a natural time to speak about Jesus and to tell others about this One who has been born and was crucified and has risen again from the dead. Remember the true spirit of Christmas, and don’t lose Jesus in the midst of a busy holiday season.