I could feel it start to happen with the arrival of November. My neck stiffening, my mind racing, my pulse quickening. All from thinking about preparing for Christmas. Or more accurately, Christmas shopping. Did I have my budget ready? Did the kids give me their lists? Who do I need to buy presents for? When should the Christmas cards go out? And on and on and on… Stress! Pressure! And not at all what the Christmas season is meant to be about. While there is nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves, when pushed to the forefront, they remove the focus from the true reason for Christmas – Jesus Christ! This year, instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle, and sucked into the commercial hype of the season, I am determined to stay worshipful, grateful and focused on Christ.
First, I will do something for someone less fortunate this holiday season. I will give of my time, my talent and my treasure. This may mean donations to a local charity. Or it can mean giving to friends I know that are in need. It may be as simple as a phone call to a person who is lonely. The goal will be to do something for someone who can’t reciprocate it. It will be a true selfless gift of love. The best kind.
Second, I will spend even more time focused on God and His Word. Yes, I’ll pray and read the Bible as I usually do. But I’ll take it a step further. I will consciously seek ways to apply the scripture I’ve read for the day. Make the meaning come alive in me, and for someone else. In this fashion, I’ll continually meditate on His Word.
Lastly, I will make the budget and the gift list – and stick to it. No, this part is not so much about worship as it is about not getting off track and allowing commercialism to control me. I’ll steer clear of department stores full of all sorts of pressure-filled tactics – conscious and unconscious – to get you to make purchases. It can be too tempting for me. I’ll do my buying online this year, or even make more personal and meaningful gifts.
It’s not a sin to shop for gifts. It’s not wrong to enjoy making Christmas purchases. But I was wrong in allowing my focus to be all about the gifts, instead of the celebration of God’s Son.
Enjoy Jesus’ presence this holiday season. Merry Christmas!