It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of the holiday. Fall and winter is an insanely busy time of the year for most families. School and sports being, Halloween follows, then Thanksgiving and school break projects, then the sprint to Christmas with shopping, cantatas, plays, decorating, and a mailbox full of pleas for donations from groups you’ve never heard of, all fight for attention and divide our focus from what really counts. Much like Mary when Jesus visited the home she shared with her sister Martha, it is easy to lose sight of what is really important as we rush to take care of earthly things.
“But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities…” Luke 10:40
So how can we keep Christ in Christmas? For me, the first step has always been taking away the title barrier. He’s not only Christ our Savior, He’s the infant Jesus who was the first Bible story we were ever told. He’s Jesus who we were taught to sing about with, “Yes Jesus loves me.” We’re not just following a tradition we were taught, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. In short, Christmas is the biggest birthday party every thrown. Among the hustle and the pomp, this simple act of remembering what we are actually celebrating offers a simple way to bring us, and our families, closer to Jesus this Holy season.
“And after entering the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, after opening their treasure chests, they presented to Him gifts [fit for a king, gifts] of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11
We gift gifts to each other at Christmas, but what about the one the party is really for? This Christmas, put a birthday gift for Jesus at the top of your list. Now, of course Jesus doesn’t need a sweater or a video game, but He does want us to take care of His children. Pick someone in need and provide for them in some way as your birthday present for Jesus.
“He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?’ Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, ‘Do you [really] love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep’.” John 21:17
Whether you chose to sponsor a child on an angel tree, leave a package on the front porch of a family you know is in need, donate to a food bank, fill a shoebox for Operation Shoebox, or select a different way to help, make choosing a present for Jesus part of your family holiday experience. Let your children help, just as though they were picking a toy for a classmate’s party. In watching them search for a birthday present for Jesus, you just might find the kid in yourself who unquestioningly believes every note of, “Yes Jesus loves me” without any complications of busy grown up life. – Liz Masoner
Read our other Christmas posts from this week: