Christmastime is one of my most favorite times of the whole year.
But oftentimes amidst the rush of the season, the crowded malls, and the gift buying, we can tend to lose our focus.
Somewhere amidst the noise of the busyness we can forget to be still and remember why Christmas starts with Christ.
Today I wanted to invite you to join me on the quest of making this Christmas season count. I wanted to invite you to join me in quietly embracing this time and remembering what it's really all about. I wanted to beckon you to look to the manger and know that Emmanuel is not just something you sing in Christmas songs, but it is God with us.
God with us every day. And perhaps at this time of the year we have even more of an opportunity to show others that He is with them too.
Are you ready to make your Christmas more meaningful this year? I certainly am. Here are just a few ideas I had to put Christ back at the front of Christmas.
1) Slow down and remember. I think every year the malls and the stores seem to get more crowded, people get more grumpy, and the schedules get more hectic. Everyone is in a constant state of busy with somewhere to go, someone to buy for, and something to do. In the midst of all this, we can forget. Forget to slow down and remember why we are celebrating in the first place. Take a step back, sit down with a mug of steaming hot chocolate (an over abundance of marshmallows preferred), and read Luke 2. Remember the Baby born in the manger who came just for you and me. Share this remembrance with someone else today.
2) Surprise someone who wouldn't expect it with a small gift. Maybe a co-worker, new kid in school or youth group, the new neighbors next door. Whoever it is, just surprise them with the knowledge that you cared. It doesn't have to be big. Maybe a tray of Christmas cookies you baked. Just put your love into it.
3) Purpose to be thankful. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the gift-giving and the gift-getting that we forget to stop and be thankful for the beauty of the season. To be thankful for the beautiful snow falling, the lights twinkling on the Christmas trees, the joy of the season, and especially the gift of the Baby in the manger. The One who saved us. For He is truly the greatest gift of all.
4) Give a gift to someone who may not get anything else this Christmas season. Last year, my family and I excitedly shopped for little gifts to put into boxes that we would hand out to the homeless on the street corner in our city. This year my family and I put together Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes for kids in other countries that don't have anything. Maybe you can donate gifts or toys to local homeless shelters, or do something like we did. Get creative and give a gift to someone, sharing with them the love of Jesus.
5) Make someone laugh. I get sad when I look around and notice the way so many people get stressed out by the busyness of this season and become grumpy with each other at home, the store, or church. Put a smile on your face and spread some joy and laughter to the people around you. Tell someone a joke, a funny story, or just laugh with them. Spread the joy of Christmas this season.
6) Remember to cherish the moments. As I said above, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the whole year. I love the sights, the smells, the sounds, everything. Don't miss out on the season by getting caught up in your busy schedule. Make time for your family. Bake Christmas cookies, decorate a gingerbread house, have a snowball fight (come on, snow, hurry up and get to PA!), drink lots of hot apple cider, decorate your Christmas tree together. Spend time with the people love, reflecting on the love of Jesus.
7) Leave a tract in the hands of someone who doesn't know true Love. Don't let this season pass without giving someone the chance to know the greatest gift of all. Tell them about the Baby born to save us. Tell them about His love and His grace. Give someone the greatest gift you could ever give them.
Let's make this Christmas season the best one yet.