Preparing to Live Out the Real Meaning of Christmas
What are you doing to get ready for Christmas? To get spiritually ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. As we journey through this December, making preparations and counting down till Christmas day, here are some suggestions to help you focus on “the real meaning of Christmas.”
First, determine to keep Christ first in your Christmas. Make the season all about Him. Do not allow any event, responsibility, or expectation to squeeze Him out or place Him on the back burner. He’s the main event. Center every day of your life around Jesus.
Second, nurture your walk with Jesus every day. Along with my regular Bible reading, I’m reading through Luke’s gospel, one chapter a day for 24 days. I’m also reading several Advent devotionals daily. Reading and studying God’s Word are essential to spiritual progress.
Third, follow Mary’s and Joseph’s examples of obedience. The Christ-centered believer obeys God. When Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced she would be mother of Jesus, Mary naturally was troubled, but humbly accepted God’s assignment. Joseph also obeyed the Lord’s command (Matthew 1:24). Obedience fills the Christmas story. Obedience should fill our lives, also.
Fourth, be present every Sunday in corporate worship. Worshipping with other believers also nurtures your soul, encourages your heart, and pleases God.
Fifth, take time to ponder. Mary pondered the events leading up to the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:19): Gabriel’s visit with the stunning news; the shepherd’s coming after witnessing the angelic chorus; the arduous journey to Bethlehem; the moment she laid eyes on the infant Jesus. What amazes you about Christmas?
Sixth, practice kindness. The Christmas season is stressful for many. We have no idea what burdens people carry. Some are grieving. Others just got bad news on the health front. Be sensitive. Say “thank you” often, hold the door open for people, let drivers slip in front of you at the red light. How can you show kindness?
Seventh, remember our missionaries. Southern Baptists highlight our international missionaries during this season, praying for them and taking a special offering to support their work.
Eighth, remember your church. Be supportive and generous as you give of yourself to the Lord with your time, talents, and treasure. Help your church have a strong year-end offering. Do your part to help your church move forward and help carry the load.
Ninth, forgive quickly. Christ came to give us forgiveness, and He calls us to forgive one another. Don’t let bitterness and past hurts hinder your Christ-centered Christmas. Make the effort to mend a fractured relationship.
Tenth, remember the needy and lonely. Find a way to share with others, especially those who have fallen on hard times. Remember those who are alone, maybe homebound, or away from family members this year.
Eleven, intentionally share Jesus. We may find this hard to believe, but not everyone knows what Christmas is about or who Jesus is.
Many summers ago, for example, high school students from First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida travelled to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The youth group met a teenage girl who asked, “What is your group doing here?”
The youth pastor responded, “We are here to help one of the local churches spread the good news about Jesus.”
Then came the two words that totally shocked these Bible-belt students: “Jesus who?” Catch the irony. They were standing in the city of Bethlehem and this girl asked, “Jesus who?”
How can you share Jesus this Christmas season?