Christmas. From the first of October till a week into January, we spend our time looking at Christmas trees, lights, decorations, and listening to the festive (and sometimes depressing) music. The day arrives, finally, and due to the fact that we’ve spent so much time hyping it up, sometimes it can be a let down. So let’s talk about some things you can do this year to make sure this year’s Christmas is the best Christmas ever.
1. Remember the REASON for the SEASON. Yes, it’s cliche. But the reason why many gather together for Christmas is because of the birth of Christ. No, I don’t believe Jesus was born on December 25. But yes, I do believe it is a great time to talk about Jesus, because so many in the world are seeing nativity scenes, listening to hymns, and are in a joyful mood. Why not jump on this great opportunity to grow closer to Jesus this year?
2. Go to a worship service, or at least participate in worship on Sunday, Christmas Day, December 25. Full disclosure, i’m a preacher, and I want people to come to the building at our church and worship God with their church family EVERY Sunday. I love the connections that are made. There’s no greater way to celebrate Christmas than to celebrate the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus.
If you’re in the Tampa area, our congregation is moving our worship time to accommodate all the extra time you may need on Christmas morning to get out. We understand that kids will want to play with their toys, you’ll want to try on your new outfits, and if you have family over, you’ll need an extra hour or so to get every one through the shower and feed them. So we’ll move from 9am to 10:30am. We also will not have classes, since we want to encourage togetherness with church family, and with with your family at home as well.
I also realize that sometimes, you may have a family member that refuses to go to church. That’s okay – maybe instead of forcing them to go and making them feel guilty, you stay at home and spend some time in the Word of God, talking about Jesus. I have prepared a “Family Christmas Devotional Guide” for anyone in this situation. Instead of making or forcing or guilting someone into going, stay at home with them and go over this with them. While I think it is of the utmost importance to be in church every week for the encouragement and admonishment you give and receive, I think it is just as important to show Christ in any way possible to those who are either non – believers, or have left the church.
I’d love for you to 2016 CHRISTMAS FAMILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE if you are in a situation like this, or if your family happens to be out of town snowed in at a cabin in the mountains.
3. Bless someone with a Random Act of Kindness. Our family has a Christmas Elf that comes every year. Her name is Chrissy (short for Christmas, which is what Josie named her many years ago). Instead of causing mischief though, Chrissy has the tendency to encourage Josie to do kind things. One year, she left notes for her to bake Christmas cookies and hand them to a few people, so her and Kristen made cookies and delivered them to the local fire station. We also took them to a house down the street that had really cool Christmas lights, and we told them “You make our drive through the neighborhood so much more enjoyable.”
4. Do something completely selfless. Last year, a group from church went to “Build-a-Bear” and each kid custom made a stuffed animal. We then took all the kids over to a local hospital that one of our members works for, and took all the stuffed animals that the kids had just made, and gave them to the children’s section of the hospital. Our kids knew what they were doing the whole time, and they took great pride in making things just right for the children they were going to get to bless.
5. Make a resolution not to fight or argue with anyone. Listen, I get it, on holidays, your family gets together for the first time maybe in months (or years) and there’s a lot of excitement. But sometimes, a discussion ends up turning toward a Facebook post you made a few weeks ago, or a cause you support, or a religious decision you or your church made that Uncle Ted doesn’t agree with.
Instead of bringing those things up, here’s another idea — DON’T! I made the mistake of doing that not too long ago at a family gathering. It led to a discussion, albeit civil, that could have either waited, or never been had at all.
Christmas day is not the day to bring up political, theological, or moral differences. Instead spend the day encouraging, uplifting, and cheering people on in their life. If someone in your family has made a poor choice in your mind, practice restraint, and if it’s really important to you to talk about it — give them a call later in the week.
So there you go – 5 great things to do (or not do) on Christmas day. I pray that all of you will have a safe, happy Christmas and wonderful holiday season.