Christmas: Is It Really The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

Read This: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us.” Luke 1:68-69

Think: Thanksgiving is the Christmas season kick-off. Lights go up around the neighborhood, Christmas trees replace pumpkins and cornucopias, and it’s finally socially acceptable to start playing Christmas music. Peeking ahead at the month of December, I found the calendar already filling up with Christmas programs, parties, and travel plans. The holidays are always busy, and unfortunately a busy schedule sometimes means less time to focus on the Lord.

Sometimes in trying to do everything to make sure Christmas is what we think it’s supposed to be, we neglect the one thing the first Christmas was really about: worship. The shepherds weren’t at a cookie exchange when the angel appeared to them. The wise men weren’t consumed with shopping for the perfect gift while they followed the star. Mary and Joseph didn’t have any family or friends around when she gave birth to the Messiah, but celebrated with strangers brought together by a miracle.

Parties, gift giving, and spending time with people we love is great and an important part of the holiday season, but we need to be careful that we don’t turn traditions into necessities. As the story of Christ’s birth unfolds in the first chapters of Luke, over and over people stop to thank God and worship him for what he’s done. Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (1:46-47). Heavenly hosts appeared saying, “Glory to God in the highest” (2:14). And later the shepherds returned to the fields “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen” (2:21). People were amazed and overjoyed by Jesus’ birth and celebrated by praising God.

There’s no doubt this is (mostly) a fun time of year, but it can be a challenge to fit in all the festivities without robbing God of his rightful place at the forefront of everything. Maybe this is the year we decide to cut some things out. In all the different ways we celebrate and traditions we incorporate, let’s make sure our hearts reflect the praise and worship of that first Christmas. God has done great things for us.

Ask: What’s your favorite part of Christmas? What aspects of the season could you do without? What is the most worshipful Christmas experience you’ve had?

Pray: Ask God to prepare your heart for worship as we enter the busyness of the holidays. Pray that your attitude and outlook can truly reflect the peace and joy Jesus came to bring those who trust in him.

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