Dec 9th 2012, by Timothy Tai-
It’s December and the world at large knows that ‘tis the season to be jolly with all that fa-la-la-la-la stuff. Before anyone thinks that I’m a scrooge, allow me to clarify that I don’t go around scoffing “Bah humbug!” at all things Christmas-related. On the contrary, Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I love celebrating it with my family and friends.
However, God didn’t give us His one and only Son just so that we could have another holiday to celebrate. But sadly, for so many people, that’s all Christmas is: a reason to get presents and overeat (and I’ll be the first to admit that I have been guilty of thinking that way in the past). So how should we celebrate Christmas?
Here are some thoughts based on Jesus’ teachings on how He would want us to celebrate Christmas:
1. By sharing the good news with others
At the start of Jesus’ life on earth, an angel appeared to some shepherds who were out tending their sheep and announced the good news of the Savior’s birth to them. They hurried to Bethlehem where they found baby Jesus lying in the manger. Look at what they did next:
After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished.– Luke 2:17-18
Then at the end of his time here on earth, Jesus’ last words to his disciples were:
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” – Mark 16:15
Clearly, we should definitely not keep the good news about Jesus all to ourselves. This Christmas, let’s look for ways and opportunities that we can share our faith with people who don’t know Him yet.
2. By remembering the less fortunate
One Sabbath, Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee… Then Jesus said to his host:
When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. – Luke 14:1, 12-14 (NIV)
Everyone loves Christmas parties and some of us even throw a Christmas dinner for our friends and family every year. Instead of doing the same thing this year, what if we hosted a party for an orphanage or old folks home? After all, it’s what Jesus proposed!
3. By loving one another
After the last supper, Jesus turned to his disciples and said:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34 (NIV)
This doesn’t mean we have to buy a gift for every friend and family member. You don’t even have to buy a gift at all because there are so many more creative and meaningful ways that we can love people. Maybe you can just spend some quality time with your parents or offer to babysit for that friend of yours who is a single parent. As they say, actions speak louder than words.
4. By blessing your enemy
In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
What if we really did this and loved our enemies this Christmas? It could be something small such as sending them a Christmas card or perhaps even blessing them with a hamper or gift. Think of what kind of a testimony you would be to them.
5. By spending time with Jesus
Remember when Jesus visited Martha’s home? She busied herself with all the preparations that ‘had’ to be made whilst her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to what he said. When Martha finally complained to Jesus and wanted him to tell Mary to help her with the work, this is what he said:
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NKJV)
Let’s not get so distracted with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations that we forget to do the most important thing of all: Spend time with Jesus.
Dear Viewers in Christ, if you find this article edifying to you, please share with your friends or loved ones by using the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article). The Lord will surely bless you as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you. Amen.
Note: Timothy grew up in Kuching and worked in KL before jumping off the corporate ladder in 2006. He moved to New York City where he served at an inner-city kids ministry for almost 6 years. He has since returned to KL and has just married his Irish fiancee Sarah.
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