To many today, Christmas is just a holiday – a stressful one at that. It’s a time for buying gifts that didn’t need to be bought out of a budget that couldn’t afford them. It’s a time for squeezing parties and extra events into a schedule that was already too full. It’s a time in which many feel rushed and over committed when what they really need is to slow down and enjoy the season.
Christmas should be a time of peace, not of fear and unrest. We fear we may overlook someone on our gift list, or maybe they won’t like what we bought them, or perhaps they will think our gift is too cheap. For some, Christmas also brings the added tension of bringing together fractured families. Instead of peace, they dread the inevitable conflicts. Yet, Christmas should be a time of peace.
Christmas should also be a time of hope. Think about this: Christmas is poised at the end of one year and the beginning of the next – at the crossroads of the past and the future. A previous year, with its blessings and its trials, is gone. A new year looms ahead, full of uncertainty. Yet, here is Christmas – the celebration of a birth that took place 2000 years ago – a perennial bright spot on our calendars – because God has given us hope. Christmas should be a time of hope.
Christmas should also be a time of love, centered around the greatest love story ever told – the story of God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Christmas is the story of God’s greatest gift given to meet our greatest need – because God is Love. Christmas should be a time of love.
Ultimately, whether Christmas is a great time of year or a lousy time of the year depends on whether we are centered on ourselves, or centered on Christ.
What can we be doing to have a Christ-centered Christmas this year?