How to make Christmas more about Jesus
(without getting rid of gifts, Santa, decorations and family lunches!)
Christmas. Once a year it comes and what does it look like? Crowded shopping centres. People, rushing to buy gifts, decorations and food. Streets lined with houses that flash, sparkle and dazzle. Homes that are decorated, prepared and ready for the big day. This is typically what Christmas looks like.
I have to admit it wouldn’t really feel like Christmas without those things. We all get caught up in the yearly practice of buying presents, decorating the house, preparing food, all the while thinking about our upcoming holiday, seeing friends and family and wondering about what’s inside the neatly wrapped gifts under the tree.
We could hardly be blamed for forgetting, even for just a moment about what Christmas is actually for.
As we come closer and closer to Christmas, and as we begin to prepare for the big day, I believe we should prepare properly, by placing the birth of Jesus front and centre in our hearts and minds. So, what does this look like? How can we make Christmas look a lot more like Jesus?
Turn distractions into tools
There are many who believe we should get rid of all the distractions and just focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus. So, should we get rid of all the fun things about Christmas? After all they are the source of the problem, right?? No more gift giving! No more big family lunches or dinners! No more decorations!! No more Santa! Then Christmas morning would only be filled with going to church and afterwards gathering round a cake and singing ‘Happy Birthday to Jesus’.
Will this solve the problem? Is this how we make Christmas look a lot more like Jesus? I think not. Gift giving, family lunches and dinners, decorations and even Santa can actually make Christmas look a lot more like Jesus. I'll explain what I mean in just a moment...
The real excitement and joy of Christmas
We must remember that a Christmas focused on the birth of Jesus our Saviour can never be ruined. We celebrate the time when our creator God sent His Eternal Son from heaven and into the world.
God himself entered His creation, as a baby! A baby who is fully God and fully man. This baby grew up and lived a life in perfect obedience to his Father, who later died to take away our sins. He rose from the grave in victory over our sins and death itself! This is what we should be getting excited about! This is what we should be preparing for! Thinking about how awesome it is that God sent his one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins!
A Christmas that looks more like Jesus, is one where everyone gets excited, overjoyed, overflowing with thankfulness, grinning from ear to ear that we are celebrating when our Saviour entered the world!
Using Christmas traditions to reflect on Jesus
Many of the ways we celebrate Christmas can actually make Christmas look a lot more like Jesus. This Christmas strive for Jesus’ birth to shape why we do what we do.
- Family lunches and dinners. Don’t be complacent at family lunches and dinners, use them to build and heal relationships, and if possible, share the gospel. Because of Jesus we are now friends with God and part of his family. Demonstrate the gospel in your family gatherings through love, patience and forgiveness, knowing that God loves you with an everlasting love, and forgave you through his Son, Jesus.
- Food. When Jesus spoke about His coming kingdom, He talked about food and drink, and the table. Surely in our Christmas celebrations we can point to the greatest feast at the end of time when Jesus returns!
- Santa. There is actually no need to push Santa out of the picture. The fact that Santa is a gift giver can be the perfect link to telling others that God gave us the greatest gift that keeps on giving. Santa gives presents depending on whether you have been good or bad. But God gave us the greatest gift regardless of whether we have been good or bad, in fact he gave it to us knowing that we have rejected him and all we have to do is accept this gift.
- Gifts. There's no need to push gift giving out of the picture this Christmas, use it to tell the gospel. After all Jesus is the greatest gift in the world that was given to us.
We should be joyful that what we do at Christmas time is celebrating generosity and peace. God showed us his great generosity by giving us his only Son, so that we could be reconciled with him once and for all. Do not scoff or put down Christmas celebrations and festivities. But please don’t get lost in them either. Make sure this Christmas (and all of the ones that follow) look more like Jesus as you use the things we do to show and speak about the great news of our Saviour coming into the world as a baby.
And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11