Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the blog for Southwestern’s Women’s Studies Programs, www.biblicalwoman.org/voices.
Make this year’s celebration of Christmas more meaningful to you, your family, and friends! Here are some ways to do just that:
Announce Your Intentions. In the Greek New Testament the word translated gospel (euaggelion, from eu meaning “good” and aggelos meaning “message”) has at its root the understanding of “good news.” Most of you have far more contacts with people during the month of December than any other time of the year, so your opportunities for witness are multiplied. The season itself provides an apropos tool for witnessing, as you can share with clerks, merchants, friends, and loved ones the importance of Christmas as the birthday celebration of your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. The angel of the Lord had the privilege of giving the first birth announcement for the Christ child (Luke 2:9-14). You, too, can be “angels” or “messengers” of the Lord by announcing His coming to earth to provide redemption through the cards you send, the carols you sing, and even the greetings you extend. The spirit behind every gift you give should spring from the Lord’s inspiring gift Himself!
Rejoice! Remember that the shepherds not only continued the spreading abroad of the good news of the gospel, but they also glorified and praised God (Luke 2:17-20). Christmas is an ideal time for rejoicing over the blessings bestowed upon you and your family by the heavenly Father. Oh, that you and I might follow the admonition of the apostle Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4). Make Christmas a holy celebration, feasting upon goodness and joy, despite the adversities and inconveniences that may occur.
Meditate upon Christmases Past. Mary, the mother of Jesus, “pondered” or meditated upon the events surrounding the birth of her first son (Luke 2:19). You, too, would do well to meditate upon the Lord’s birth, His incarnation, His atonement, His life and ministry. In addition, thinking upon those Christmas celebrations of years gone by—the traditions and festivities of our respective families during this joyous season—is meaningful.
Give with No Strings Attached. The “wise men” did not arrive to visit the Christ child immediately after His birth. Their journey was long and difficult. The men came bearing gifts (Matt. 2:11). Since three gifts are mentioned, tradition has suggested three men; but the text does not record the number of visitors. The Christmas season, above all else, should prompt you to lay a gift before the Savior. The tithe given through the local church is a divinely appointed minimum, and surely you would want to go beyond that and make a gift and offering to the Lord and His kingdom’s work, especially during this season of giving to everyone else. Perhaps as my husband and I do, you make a gift to international missions, contribute to some ministry dear to your heart, or meet some special need of one who is less fortunate than you.
After you have given to the Lord, you will want even more to choose gifts for those whom you love. These gifts ought not to be given in a perfunctory manner as exercising duty but as a loving expression of caring for someone and sharing with that person something of yourself.
Make Room for Christ. The innkeeper had no room for Mary and Joseph, the family of the Lord Jesus. How sad to see many people so caught up in buying gifts, writing cards, hanging decorations, baking goodies, and the like, that they have no time for the honored One whose birth they celebrate!
God grant to each of you a determination to carry Christ-honoring priorities into the busy holiday season and a commitment to maintain an emphasis upon keeping Christ in the center of your Christmas celebration.
Note: Adapted from my book A Woman Seeking God: Discovering God in the Place of Your Life (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1992), 108-09.