People all over the world celebrate Christmas. It's a sacred remembrance that has become a secular holiday. For Jesus followers, it's fine to appreciate some of the cultural trappings that come with the season. Who doesn't enjoy the occasional cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie, festive tree, or stockings hung on the chimney with care?
But when you get down to it, we still need to ensure that we use the Advent season as a time to focus on what puts the "holy" in holiday. So here are five suggestions for making sure that Christ is the center of your Christmas celebration.
1. Read the Gospels this December
Many faithful people sacrificed tremendously so that we could have the Scriptures in our native language. Why? Because they tell us the story of Jesus and how He made reconciliation with God possible. In the Gospels, we discover the most beautiful story of mercy and love the world has ever seen. If we didn't have the Gospels, we wouldn't even know there was a Christmas. So it seems like an important place to start if we want to make Jesus the focus of the season.
2. Watch the story of Jesus
Christmas movies are great. But why not make a tradition of gathering the family together to watch one of the many incredible films about Jesus's life? It's an easy way to include members from every generation to experience the drama of Jesus's incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Not sure where to start? You can watch the "JESUS" film or the "Gospel of John" for free at any time. In fact, we have a massive collection of short and feature-length Christian films.
3. Go Christmas caroling
There's just something heartwarming about caroling. But instead of going door to door, why not get some friends together and visit some people in desperate need of some holiday spirit?
Nursing homes are full of individuals struggling with sadness and alienation during the holidays. They could use a little cheer. Children's hospitals are another location in desperate need of the hope and joy of Christmas. But don't just drop in—you'll need to call and arrange an appropriate time to show up. With a little scheduling work, you can even hit a couple of different locations in a single evening. It will definitely make for a memorable and meaningful event. And by sharing the joy of Christmas with those who need it most, we remember what the season is all about.
4. Take part in some service projects
At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that Jesus came to us in our need. We can remember this fact by doing the same for others. Work with your church, small group, or family to come up with some service ideas that are specific to your community.
You could help winterize homes, shovel driveways, or make baked goods for your local fire and police departments. If you're having a hard time coming up with ideas, volunteer with other local service organizations.
Jesus left His throne to come and redeem us. By going out to help others during the holidays, we remember why Jesus put on flesh.
5. Make presents secondary to Jesus on Christmas day
Everyone is excited about giving and receiving gifts on Christmas day, but make sure to carve out some time as a family to read the Christmas story, pray, and reflect on the greatest gift humanity has ever received. This helps contextualize the whole idea of gift-giving, making it even more meaningful.
Keeping Christ in Christmas
Christmas is such a meaningful time for followers of Jesus. It's vital that we don't let this important season slip into the culturally accepted holiday expressions. Rather, we need to lead the charge in demonstrating what it looks like to make Christmas about Jesus.
As Christmas approaches there's a good chance you still have some shopping to do. Have you considered giving the gift of "JESUS" for the holidays?