Putting Christ back in Christmas…

Putting Christ back in Christmas

Cheerful carols and glistening fir trees, mince pies and smoked gammon, sparkling gold tinsel and ruby red cherries… what’s not to love about this special time of year? As another festive season rolls around, it’s as if we all feel it at once — forgotten hope rising again, a fresh appreciation for family, and a reclaimed sense of wonder.

Yet despite the collective festive cheer, there’s something different, deeper and even more wonder-filled awaiting Christ-followers at Christmas time.

It’s not found under a tree, and it doesn’t come wrapped with a bow, in fact, it’s not a present, but a person.

It’s Jesus himself.

So often obscured and crowded out from our hearts and minds by the festive season’s trappings, cluttered timelines and arbitrary traditions, here’s a few thoughtful ways to put the “Christ” back into your “Christmas”…

SLOW DOWN

Pause for an insta-minute and take some time to reflect on that very first Christmas. There was no tinsel, no shiny toys, no crazy shopping queues, but in their place: surrendered peace.

In a year that hasn’t gone at all to plan for any of us, the rarest gift of all is still the same thing it has always been: a peace that surpasses understanding or circumstance.

So let’s seek it out by slowing down and stressing less. Let’s refuse to believe the lie that real joy and peace can only be found at the end of our never-ending to-do lists. Instead, let’s make time to treasure what’s truly important, and fix our eyes on the One who calms the waves and stills the storms, still.

As a family, you might want to slow down together and spend a little time every day in the lead up to Christmas reflecting on a part of the Christmas story, along with a Bible verse or two. You could start by looking at some of the prophetic promises in the Old Testament, and then journey through the Christmas story; one person at a time.

In addition, why not watch the artfully-told Christmas stories on TruthTV together as a family?

SPEND LESS

As someone who loves Jesus, this is primarily a time to honour Christ’s arrival, not the arrival of more stuff into our homes and lives. With this in mind, why not consider spending less on gifts? Not because you love your family and friends less, but because despite what advertising tells us, the best gifts don’t cost a cent – they’re our time and love.

PUT SANTA IN HIS PLACE

Despite what many kids think, Father Christmas isn’t the real hero of the Christmas story. He’s a side act at best. How will your kids know this? By virtue of the fact that he gives a small gift every year, not the biggest. If you choose to include him in your family festive traditions, make Santa your little helper, not the other way around.

CELEBRATE!

Just as Psalm 98 promised—Christmas is a time to celebrate that true, unstoppable, unsinkable JOY has finally come to our world!

Now, all thanks to that first Christmas miracle, we get to celebrate that God put skin on. That the Maker of the Universe who holds everything together, whose hands span the galaxies, let go of all of that to become a tiny, helpless babe. He gave up his riches to become poor for us. All because of love.

Christmas is all about celebrating this—the biggest of gifts. It’s about reveling in grace personified, perfected in a person…

A Saviour who satisfies our weary souls like no iPad, gift voucher or glazed ham ever could. This is good news, and it’s worth celebrating – big time!

TRY OUT SOME CHRIST-CENTRED CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

To truly celebrate the reason for the season, let’s reflect Christ’s love to others during this time. You could consider spending some of your time and money as a family putting together care packages for those less fortunate.

On Christmas evening, you could also bring your family together and reflect on what made the day really special. Amidst all the gifts given, thank God for the BEST gift of all, Christ and his great love for us.

The day after Christmas, traditionally known as Boxing Day, why not give each of your family a box and ask them to give away some of their good-quality toys and clothes to bless others?

Like the thin layer of icing atop a Christmas cake, may whatever traditions you observe this season be small and inconsequential beside Christ this Christmas.

And may the true reason for the season invade your heart and life with joy, peace and love.

More

Hope on a Rope

The final rescue scene in the documentary has a way of searing itself into our imagination and memory. A woman, named Iman, shot days before, lies nearly dead in open rubble under the scorching sun. She lifts her hand and quietly calls for help from the Free Burma Rangers. Dave realizes that rescuing her will likely reveal to the ruthless ISIS soldiers the hidden position of the Rangers, and all the wounded people they are carrying to safety. Understandably, his first prayer is that God takes her life. But God intends to bring hope where there is none: his hope comes in the form of a rope. We can learn four things about finding hope when we are in a hopeless situation…

Greater Love

In the documentary’s most nail-biting and heart-stopping scene, Dave is exposed to the murderous fire of ISIS snipers as he seeks to rescue a little girl named Suria who is out in the open, sitting beside the mother she has just lost. Dave’s courageous act of love can inspire the way we love and serve others in several ways.

Trust God

The Free Burma Rangers are not just motivated by love—they are also carried along by faith. They are “sure of what [they] hope for and certain of what [they] do not see.” (Heb 11:1) Their faith can inspire our own in at least four ways…

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