So, Christmas is coming! The excitement is already beginning to infuse every celebrating home and heart. It is nearly impossible to escape! Even here, where Christmas is not celebrated, I have been able to catch a bit of the merriment from the internet -blogs, youtube, facebook, etc. I have been getting increasingly excited about blogging throughout the holidays. I was coming up with different plans and schemes for my blogging schedule, and I still do hope to have lots of posts up over the next month. But, I feel compelled to share something with you before I delve into the excitement of all that Christmas brings.
A Warning for the Christmas Season
I listened to this message yesterday. I would really encourage you to listen to it when you have a free hour – maybe while you’re driving or walking or doing the dishes. This message was a HUGE encouragement and challenge to me. Matt Chandler shares from Ecclesiastes and John a warning about the Christmas season. This season, more than any other in our Western calendar is bursting with excitement and tradition and hope. But, at the bottom of everything in our society, Christmas often tells us that we are missing something. The commercials show us just one more thing that we need to make us happy. The movies paint an idyllic family picture that make us feel like something is wrong with our less-than-perfect relationships. Stories of Christmas merriment seem to leave us feeling like we just don’t measure up. All of these feelings can lead to discontent and discouragement. That is because we have shifted our focus from what Christmas really is about – the birth and life of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world – to temporal things. These things will never satisfy us eternally. Pastor Chandler points out that, yes, these things can feel good – a promotion, a nice car, a new house, things – but they only make us happy for a short time. We are never completely satisfied, because we were created for eternity. Only eternal things can satisfy us eternally. Pastor Chandler quotes C.S. Lewis when he says,
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
The challenge for us, then, is to remember that this Christmas, the real meaning is about eternity. It is about something much bigger and better than this life. So, with that challenge, to remember the big picture and the real meaning, Pastor Chandler then encourages us to go and enjoy all the Christmas has to offer. Because we were made for something bigger does not at all mean that we cannot enjoy the things that we have here, temporally. It just means that they should not be the goal, or the end-all. They should not over-rule the eternal aspect of Christmas.
So, yes, I am going to blog about fun and exciting aspects of the Christmas season that have little to do with eternity. But, I want you to know that underneath all of it, the foundation of this season, the real meaning, is eternal. None of the little things will be enjoyable without the knowledge that Jesus is what we are really looking for. He is where eternal hope and joy stem from. Please, keep Him first. Make Christmas primarily about Christ, and then enjoy all of the cookies, the movies, the music, and everything else that comes with Christmas because He has given you the opportunity to do so.
I’m so excited about blogging regularly during the month of December and sharing ideas for making this season special. I’d like to make my first suggestions today about how to make Christmas Christ-centered. Head on over to Dayspring, and download their 25 day Advent devotional cards. They are free, beautiful, short, and perfect for family devotions. Each day presents a promise that Jesus has given to us, and then has discussion questions to encourage you to find a way to claim the promise as your own and make it part of your life. I’d love to hear if you are going to be doing these during the month of December. I’m going to be printing out several sets (they are free!!) and giving them to some families in our church along with an ornament or cookie cutter. Who can you think of to encourage with a month-long devotional packet at the beginning of this season?
Also, I’ve created this desktop calendar to use for your computer background. I hope that it will be an encouragement to remember the purpose of the season and the eternal purposes you were created for. Please feel free to download (right click and save to your desktop) and use it for your own computer! I look forward to celebrating Christmas with all of you!!