There are so many things we can focus on at Christmas. Generally, we focus a lot on our friends, our family, gifts, and giving. It is imperative that through the shopping, and the decorations, that we focus on the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus and His birth. We must meditate on who He is and what His birth and life really means to us. Here are five things God wants you to really focus on this Christmas.
We should pray leading up to Christmas. This season is a time in the church where we collectively focus on the meaningful moment in the life of Christ. When we focus on Jesus’ birth during the season, we can really grow closer to Him. One of the beautiful gifts of prayer is that it opens us up to the Holy Spirit's presence and what the Spirit is trying to communicate to us. It also helps the mind and heart center on what is really important. Christmas is a commemoration, celebration, and moment of reflection on Jesus coming to earth in the flesh. This was an incredible act of humility and love. We should reflect on this moment we awe, reverence, and joy.
What We’re Thankful For
During Christmas, you are probably focused on three big things: food, family, and gifts. In the spirit and business of the season, we can become so focused on being prepared that we forget to be thankful. Thanksgiving is the holiday we typically associate with gratitude, but it isn’t the only time to focus on what we’re grateful for. Yes, it’s fun to receive gifts during the holidays, but it is nice to focus on the gift of giving at Christmas. Jesus’ birth is a blessing, and this time of year can remind us of the importance of counting our blessings. God wants us to take time to think about the things in our lives that we can be thankful for. This can be something as small as waking up this morning to having food on your table, which is a luxury to others. This year, you and your family can come together and start keeping a gratitude journal. Each day write out one thing you are thankful for. On Christmas day, sit together and share those gratitudes with each other. This is a great way to adopt a grateful mindset as we transition into the holiday season.
We can prepare our hearts for Christmas by focusing on God’s Word. One way to begin the season is by reading the biblical account of the birth of Jesus in the Bible. There are several ways you can approach this. Open your Bible and begin with these central Christmas passages: Matthew 1:18-5, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-38, and Luke 2:1-20. The digital age we live in also provides the opportunity to dig into the Christmas story using a Bible app. YouVersion’s Bible app is a great place to start if you’ve never used a Bible app before. This is a great time to bring your children together and read the Christmas story to become familiar with the reading and the incredible truth behind it. This can also be done through a Bible app for kids, which will help teach a memory verse and a fundamental truth through text, music, and video. This is an opportunity to start a new tradition with your family while also focusing on God and what His Word is telling you.
Love is what moved the heart of God to act on behalf of His children. Love is why He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. This was done to rescue us in love. The act of love can be expressed in many ways. Great love can be discussed, and passionate love can be expressed through word, but love that is expressed in action shows us that love exists. The Bible tells us, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We know God loves us because of Jesus’ birth and because of the cross. God wants us to take time this season to focus on this incredible act of love. During this season, as you spend time reflecting and preparing for Jesus’ coming, call on God to place someone on your heart who you can love through an act of kindness. When Jesus’ entered this world of sin and gave His life for us, it was a demonstration of His vast love for us. Spend time reflecting on this wonderful gift.
We should teach our children how to focus their hearts and minds outward on others during the Christmas season. The spirit of giving is abundant during this time of year, but the nature of “me-ism” is as well and can easily sneak upon us. While we want to teach our children to be excited about the holidays and all of its festivities, we should also want to teach them to keep their eyes and their hearts focused on others, just as Jesus did. Helping our children focus on others is also a great way for us to be reminded of the importance of helping those in need. There are many ways to focus on others, especially at Christmas. One excellent way to do this is by choosing a child’s name off of a giving tree and picking out gifts together as a family. Another sweet activity is preparing a meal together and delivering it to a sick or family friend. You can even leave a Christmas card in the mailboxes of your neighbors. These are all small acts that can go a long way and really reflect the true spirit of the season.
Christmas is a great time to meditate on who Jesus really is and what His coming into the world really means to us. Focusing on these five key things are a great way to prepare our heart to think about and grow closer to God. We mustn’t lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.