Sometimes, I ruin the holidays for myself. I find myself becoming a bit of a Scrooge during this time of year as I focus too much on the rampant commercialism I see represented in our culture. The focus on presents, the lack of routine, and the “me, me, me” attitude make me crazy. And often, when I am being grumpy and doing my best Grinch impression, I find that I get in my own way and destroy the holidays for myself—and sometimes others. Then I realize, it’s not really them—those exhibiting the commercialism, it’s me: it turns out my focus is off.
I believe that the reason we celebrate this holiday season—even Thanksgiving—is to honor the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. God looked down at us, saw our struggles, and realized that we needed something more than just rules we couldn’t keep and messes we couldn’t straighten. So He sent His only Son as a baby, to grow and become a Savior to us. It is the real meaning of Christmas, and it is the focus I should keep.
Do you struggle with focusing on the true meaning of the season? Here are a few ways you can thrive spiritually during the holidays:
Behold His Glory. In order to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we have to focus on the birth of Jesus! One of the best ways to do this is to plan time in your day to spend time with God and your family being thankful for the true reason for the season. Taking time every day will keep your eyes on the true prize—the coming of a Savior—instead of earthly prizes like gifts. Even though I read devotions every day, I also read a special advent devotional and attend special Christmas worship services. Every day is a new opportunity for us to behold the glory of God—especially during the holidays!
Have Traditions. Keep old traditions that your family already has or start new ones. My family loves spending time driving through the neighborhoods to see tacky Christmas decorations. We always have a blast doing it and the time together laughing makes memories. Maybe your family goes to a Christmas Eve candlelight service. Maybe your family decorates the tree together. Whatever traditions you have and begin, make it a memory that refreshes you and brings joy to those you are with.
Serve Others. To keep the focus solely off of your own wants and desires, plan time—by yourself or with your family—to serve others. A great friend of mine serves the homeless on Christmas morning. At a time when other families are opening presents, she and her family are in a kitchen serving breakfast to about 100 homeless men in our county. Moving the focus from “me” to “thee” will keep Christ as the center of the holidays. After all, Christ is the ultimate symbol of giving to others—so use your God-given gifts and serve others during the Christmas season (1 Peter 4:10).
Remember, Christmas is about His presence, not our presents! “Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King!” May this holiday season bring you and your family joy as you thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually!