With Christmas just a little over a week away, my hope and prayer is that in the midst of the busyness, you are finding great joy this Christmas season. As we think on all that God is revealing to us in the Christmas narrative, it produces a joy in describable in the hearts of those who have faith in Christ. Here are four things that I believe are essential to you finding joy this Christmas season.
- Shift your focus from material to spiritual.There is nothing wrong with gifts and lights and trees, but if you are spending more time and energy focusing on these things than the reality that Christ has come, you are robbing yourself (and your children) of great joy. If you spend more time thinking of clever things for your Elf on the Shelf todo, or trying to find the perfect gift, or trying to get your lights and tree just right than you spend thinking on the glories of Christ, you are robbing yourself of joy. Let me challenge you to make every effort to shift your focus, and the focus of your home, from material things to spiritual, life-giving, eternal things.
- Focus on why we need a Savior. Every church-goer understands that celebrating Christmas is about celebrating the coming of our Savior, but do we ever stop to ask “Why do I need a Savior?”Do we inform our children of the horror of sin, the death that it causes, and the reality that Jesus is our only hope. The more trivial you make sin, the more you minimize the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. But when we understand just how wicked and destitute we are, it adds all the more significance and glory to Christ. There is great joy in understanding what we have been delivered from.
- Look deep into Scripture when you tell the Christmas story. There is nothing wrong with reading Luke 2 (my family will on Christmas morning) but we need to look at all that God is revealing to us in the coming of Jesus. It starts all the way back in Genesis with Adam and Eve. We get glimpses and fore-telling throughout the OT as God promises and reminds us that the Messiah is coming. He comes as a baby, grows up to be a man, and goes to the cross to save you and me. He comes back to life, ascends to heaven, and He is coming again. There is great joy in understanding God’s plan and purpose of redemption.
- Never let the focus shift from Jesus. I want to be careful what I say and how I say it here, but there is a lot at stake when you don’t make Jesus the focus of Christmas. Don’t let him just become one of the many characters that you discuss at Christmas time. He must be preeminent, He must be central, because He is the King! Don’t let other things overshadow the glory of Christ. As parents, we want to give our kids the best we can give them. Is there anything greater that you can give them than Christ? I hope you find great joy this Christmas because this is the message of Christmas. The message of Jesus is “good news of great joy for all people.” It is a message of hope and peace. I pray that this Christmas your affections for Jesus are stirred like never before.
For His glory and your joy,