Even in this season when we celebrate Christ’s birth, we can easily work against what He came to do. Remembering that Christ sent us on his mission, in the words, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you (John 20:21).” It’s easy to put this aside for a season like this. Yet, neglecting His mission has to be the worst birthday present ever.
How do we work against Christ at Christmas?
Time… We over schedule our lives. We squeeze out prayer and reflection. By doing that, we don’t even hear His voice that daily invites us to follow Him. It has to be better to say no to a few things, rather than neglect every opportunity to spend time in His presence. The mission of Christ demands we hear him.
Materialism… We join the rat-race of hunting down the perfect gift, or the best deals. We teach our kids how to sing the chorus of “I want, I want, I want.” In doing this, we replace giving ourselves with giving stuff. A better strategy is to help one another think about how we can give the love of Christ to someone who needs it. His mission is to meet people at their point of need – not want.
Family… How can family work against Christ? Some of us see our families as a “closed group.” We become a little clannish around the holidays. And in making everything revolve around our families, we neglect those on the outside who need to be invited in. We can join Christ by making our family times into open times where we welcome others and show them Christ.
Attitude… It’s easy to get a little “schroogie” in this season. We get tired and stressed. And in doing so, we let go of the joy of Christ. If we lose our joy at Christmas, we’ve done something terribly wrong. This is a season of hope and anticipation. Let me make a little comment here: If someone greets us with “happy holidays,” be grateful and joyful that they gave you a blessing! And return it to them. In our mission, we must not be people of grudges and demandingness. We are called to be people of joy. That’s one great evidence of the difference Christ makes in our lives.
Fear… This year this is especially important. We are living in scary times. And it seems the 24 hour news cycle just feeds the frenzy. As it was a dark time in the world 2000 years ago (and it was dark) when Christ came the first time, His presence brought glorious light. Today, we are the light of the world, as we live out the gospel of Christ. We trust in the Sovereign plan and mission of God. We aren’t in the dark about what’s happening in the world and why. So, in faith, we can live with confident hope. This is something the world needs to see in us. And when they do, more will ask questions about why. That’s our mission!
How will you fight the temptations to work against Christ at Christmas? Which of the above touches a nerve with you? What would you add?