This year I feel very different as I sit here to compose my annual Christmas message. For some reason, it just doesn’t feel very Christmasy to me. Part of the reason, I think, is because we’ve been so busy that we haven’t had time to put up the decorations. The tree is finally up but it’s still bare. The ornaments, lights and various decorations are spread across the living room floor. Add to that the fact that it’s 70 degrees outside (21°C), very high humidity, and it really just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me.
I’m sure that will change soon. The decorations will soon be up and the Christmas gigs will have soon started and I will get all the warm fuzzies that go along with all of that.
But as I sit here to think about what I’m going to write, I am reminded that these warm fuzzies are notwhat Christmas is all about. Christmas is a time when we are reminded that God gave His only Son as a gift of grace, a gift that none of us ever deserved and could never repay.
Yes, the cultural stuff is nice. I enjoy the music, the lights, the food, the special programs on TV. I enjoy the warm fuzzies. But I think we miss the point when we emphasize the cultural stuff and forget about the original gift that started it all.
I know that Christmas is different things to different people. To me it is the time when I am reminded, even more than usual, that I am to love my neighbor. It is a seasonal prompt to actually do the things I’ve been writing about in my “Love Is” series. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some warm fuzzies from the cultural side of the Christmas holidays, but the best kinds of warm fuzzies you can experience are the ones you get when you know you made a difference in someone’s life.
During the holidays, Christmas is everywhere. We have many reminders to love one another at the turn of every corner. I want to encourage you to use those reminders as prompts to live a life of love.
Love is Patient
When you see the Christmas prompts, let them remind you to endure the traffic and the rude shoppers without becoming angry.
Love Is Kind
When you are reminded of God’s grace when you see the Christmas decorations, use that reminder to motivate you to share His grace with others. Give what hasn’t been earned and what cannot be repaid. Give selflessly.
Love Doesn’t Envy
Remember during this holiday season to recognize your own worth. You can be a blessing to others when you recognize that there is no one else in this world quite like you. You have something to give that is unique to you alone.
Love Doesn’t Boast
Jesus was born in a manger when Israel was expecting him to arrive in in splendor and glory. He later taught that “he who is first will be last.” Use this holiday season as a time to lift other people up with you words instead of yourself.
Love Is Not Proud
Acknowledge those who have contributed to your life. Christmas is a time for you to thank the people who lifted you up to get you where you are today.
Love Does Not Dishonor
Use this Christmas season to make a commitment to live an honorable life. Keep your promises. Pay your bills. Always do the right thing.
Love Is Not Self-Seeking
This holiday season, make a concerted effort to put other people’s needs before your own.
Love Is Not Easily Angered
Make a commitment to stop following in politics for a while. Get your head out of that angry, bitter world and get it in line with the Holy Spirit and let Him sort those things out.
Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs
When you see Christmas everywhere you turn, let it remind you that all of your own sins have been forgotten. Strive to be “Christ like” and blot the wrongs that have been done to you from your memory. Forgive those who have harmed you the same way God has forgiven you.
Love Does Not Delight In Evil
Celebrate Jesus! Celebrate His love for you! Take delight in the love that He has empowered you to give to others.
I’ve been writing this message off and on all day, alternating between writing and putting up decorations. Now our home is beginning to have that Christmasy feel to it. There are plenty of reminders here to live the love that I’ve been “preaching” all year. So thank YOU for being a part of that.
Pearl and I wish you all a very merry Christmas. No matter where you live, we encourage you to enjoy Christmas differently this year. Be a blessing to the people in your life. Let them know that God loves them and be an expression of that love in their lives.
God bless you all!