Once again we find ourselves in the hustle and bustle of another Christmas season. If you are like me, you look forward to this time of year because there are so many wonderful traditions and events that only happen this time of year. There are special cookies made with family and friends, Christmas carols sung around the village, Christmas tree decorating with your family and beautiful lights to line the streets and warm your homes. There are Christmas cards to send and receive, reminding you of how truly blessed and loved you are by the people in your life. Then of course there is the fun of searching for just the right present for those special people on your list, and the joy that comes from watching them open those special gifts. Many enjoy watching their favorite Christmas movies that fill their heart with joy. These and so many others can be wonderful traditions we all look forward to and enjoy.
Let us always remember in the midst of these fun traditions, to keep the most important focus of all at the center of everything we do, which is to reflect the light of Christ to others.
All too often, in our good intentions to make great memories with family and friends, we allow ourselves to be consumed by perfection and compare ourselves to seemingly professional decorators, bakers and gift wrappers. We get caught up in having everything just “so” from our how tree is decorated, to how cookies are decorated or formed, to the perfect bow on our presents and elaborate decorations placed exactly right throughout our house, to a fabulous light show of Christmas lights or making sure we have the perfect family picture for our Christmas cards…that in striving for all that “perfection” we can miss the entire reason we do all of these things…to make memories and be present with those we love.
This Christmas season I encourage you to do all those special traditions you love so much and remember why you do them. Don’t stress over creating perfection or comparing your results to others’, just reflect the light of Christ and it will be a magical time! Let your cookies be oddly sized and shaped; let their be a few with crazy amount of sprinkles on them if that is what your children believe makes them beautiful. Let your tree decorations be off balance if it means your children and spouse are willing to join in the fun. Let your family Christmas card picture show the real you with all your personalities in toe-it makes them much more enjoyable to the receiver anyway. Sing Christmas carols even if you’re off key, and let Christmas cheer fill your heart! Invite your children and grandchildren to help you wrap special gifts knowing the corners won’t be neatly folded, the bow won’t be perfect, but in the end there will be a perfect moment of love and joy shared between you and your precious little ones.
Find ways to reflect the light of Christ in your community. Spread His love and hope all around! Go visit some of the elderly in your neighborhood and just spend time with them, talking about whatever they want to talk about. Find ways to volunteer in your community for those in need. Mail care packages to soldiers serving our country. Take care packages to your local first responder teams and thank them for their service to keep you safe. Send special notes to teachers and administrators who serve daily to raise up future generations who will lead and care for our country (whether you have children in school or not). Give a warm smile and thank you to those working in retail and service industries. Be patient, show grace and extend love to those who receive far too much negativity this time of year. Whatever you do remember what Christmas truly represents.
Christmas is about a time of celebrating and being filled with joy and wonder! Even if you’re not someone into contemporary traditions surrounding Christmas, there is always reason to be filled with joy this time of year! That joy comes from knowing Jesus as your Savior! Jesus Christ was born, and brought salvation to our world; a gift we can never repay; a gift we don’t deserve. Yet out of His great love He came down from heaven in the form of a helpless baby, born in a manger, and came to save us from our sin. He came to give us new life in Him! He brought eternal hope into this world!
When Jesus made His entrance into this world there was a great celebration among the angels and heavenly hosts!
Luke 2: 10-14 (NLT) “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Jesus is the most wonderful gift we will ever receive. He is the light of the world!
John 8:12 (NIV) 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
As much as we admire the lights on our tree and all around our towns, may we fixate our eyes to the one true light that is the light of life-Jesus Christ.
During Jesus’ ministry on earth He taught that we who believe in Him are the light of the world too.
Matthew 5: 14-16 (NIV) 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
This Christmas may we remember in everything we do, and with everyone we interact with, that we are the light of the world. We have the light of Christ shining in and through us for others to see. Let us shine His light bright and be a beacon of love and hope that both reminds and teaches others about their life-giving Savior, Jesus Christ.
If we all let the light and love of Christ shine brightly through us, think how bright we’ll light up this world at Christmas!
Let us do our part to flood the world around us with His light and celebrate the Good News-that our Lord of lords and Prince of Peace was born! As we prep for and celebrate Christmas, Let us remember to show the love, grace, compassion and kindness of Christ this year!
These are the memories that will be cherished forever.
God’s peace and love to you always.