We didn’t decorate our home for Christmas this year and almost didn’t buy any gifts, partly because I’ve been recovering from surgery and partly because every few years I feel like a hypocrite. As one who is often counterculture, most certainly when it comes to things anti-Jesus Christ, I have a hard time participating in traditions that have distorted the meaning of Christmas. While I love seeing family, smelling fresh pine and spices, eating tasty treats, hugging happy children and hearing trash talked during card games, none of these is the meaning of Christmas.
Though I rid my home of decorations this year, I don’t plan on discarding all the merriment the season brings. I do, however, hope to add Christmas traditions that put Jesus Christ at the center. I think this is what ALL Christians should do. Jesus was the reason Christmas began. So in addition to our family reading the biblical account of Jesus’ birth in Luke, we plan to either:
1. Serve the community by serving meals at a soup kitchen, distributing blankets to the homeless or adopting a family.
2. Watch a movie about Jesus, like “The Nativity Story.”
3. Make crafts or treats to commemorate Jesus, like cookies in the shape of a manger.
4. Give something to Jesus, like our worries and bad habits so we can give birth to a new life.
5. Share thoughts about how Jesus’ life has impacted each of our lives.
6. Give gifts that reflect Jesus’ life in our lives, like a picture of an empty tomb.
7. Write then share with family all the ways we’re thankful for Jesus.
8. Host a prayer meeting thanking Jesus for His life.
9. Sing only Christmas songs that are about Jesus.
10. Read stories that reflect the gospel of Christ.
I encourage you to adopt one of the above. If you don’t think you have time to coordinate one of these ideas but still feel compelled to refocus your Christmas on Jesus Christ, you can always attend a local church service or watch one on the Internet. I like getting gifts as much as the next person, but a designer bag, pajamas or perfume haven’t a thing to do with celebrating the life of the one who has given me life and the reason for Christmas, Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord.
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith