How to keep your focus at Christmas
- 2003 6 Dec
- Not everything is constructive. God has given each one of us the freedom to choose. But the apostle Paul cautioned, Some of you say, 'We can do whatever we want to!' But I tell you that not everything we do is good or helpful (1 Cor. 10:23). Freedom must be exercised in such a way as to build up your spiritual life and encourage others. The Christmas season gives us an opportunity to turn on the light of God's Word and reveal the true meaning of Christmas to those around us.
- Don't conform to the world's behavior and customs. Consumerism reaches an annual high, and holiday decorations abound for all to see and enjoy, yet Jesus is almost nowhere to be found. How easy it has become to leave out the guest of honor at His own birthday. It is important that during this busy season you reserve time to honor Christ by the regular reading of Scripture, time spent in prayer, and allowing your commitment and love for Him be evident in all you do.
- Learn the benefits of giving. In spite of all the buying and wrapping, the emphasis at Christmas seems to be on getting. Commercials abound, enticing you to add just one more item to your list of purchases. But how often do you hear anyone mention giving to someone who is less fortunate, a person you might not even know - or giving something to Jesus for His birthday? It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). There is nothing wrong with exchanging presents with those you care about, but what about making it a tradition to substantially give to those in need, or making a special gift to God's work in honor of Jesus' birth?
- Be aware of the spiritual struggle. Keeping Christ out of Christmas is part of Satan's strategy. He doesn't care how you celebrate the holiday as long as Jesus is not the main focus of your attention. Then he's got a foothold by which he can subtly influence your thinking in other dimensions of life. Don't let Jesus be just a part of your Christmas holiday - make Him the reason for the season. Every time you see yourself losing focus, repeat 2 Corinthians 9:15 to yourself: Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
- Give God first place at Christmas. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:33). To give God first place in your life means to turn to Him first for help, to take His life for your pattern of living, to fill your thoughts with His desires, and to obey Him in everything. Ultimately, the goal of Christmas celebrations can be summarized this way, So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
From Keeping Christ in Christmas by Steve Russo, copyright (c) 1999. Used by permission of Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Ore.
Steve Russo is an internationally known evangelist, featured speaker of the TV program 24/SEVEN, and host of the nationally syndicated radio show Real Answers. He is the author of several books including Halloween: What's a Christian to Do?, and with Neil Anderson, the Seduction of our Children. He is a professional drummer who speaks to thousands of students and parents each year in citywide crusades, churches, schools, and prisons. Steve lives in Southern California with his wife, Tami, and three children.