(I wrote this article some time ago, but I believe it has application to current events with which we are faced. It has such a powerful message that I wanted to share it again. For some of you this will be your first time to read it and for some of you it will be a reminder. Either way, you will want you to read and apply the content of this article to your approach to Christmas! I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas season and please remember the reason for the season.)
Yes, you read the title correctly. And no, it’s not a typograpical error. I wish you a “Right Christmas” is the message I want to send to you. What does that mean? Well, in this time of year when it is so easy to get caught up in the worldly view of this holiday season, I want to give you a simple way to stay focused on the real reason for the season. Luke 2:19 tells us “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I think we would be wise to do as Mary did and “ponder” all the things God has provided. Ponder means to think about carefully. Let’s take the word P-O-N-D-E-R and use it to create a guide for this holiday season.
P stands for PRAY. Colossians 4:2 instructs us to “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” It is very easy during this time of year to allow things to distract us from our prayer life. We have to maintain our prayer life in order to properly maintain our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Don’t let events and the pace at which they occur draw you away from your prayer time. Romans 12:12 states “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” This year make the holidays a season of prayer.
O stands for OBEDIENCE. We must be obedient to God’s direction and desires for our lives. 1 Peter 1: 15 tells us “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.” Galatians 5: 13 says “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Be careful and do not let Satan use this season as a stumbling block that keeps you from doing that which God expects of you. Be good stewards with all the resources God has provided you and do not be drawn into the worldly passion of over-indulgence. Make this a season of willful compliance and see what affect it has on your holidays.
N stands for NEW. While those around us will be focusing on receiving “new” things, I encourage you to look for new ways to enhance and grow your relationship with God. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” While accepting Jesus Christ as our personal savior makes us a “new creation”, we must continually work at keeping our relationship with our Heavenly Father fresh and new. Colossians 3: 10-11 says “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let’s make sure He is in all that we do during this holiday season and we find new ways to introduce Him to those around us.
D stands for DEVOTE. Make sure that you devote time and energy to the right things during the holidays. With all that goes on, it’s very easy to get distracted from reading God’s word, prayer, as well as time for worship and praise. Seek God’s guidance as to where He needs you to spend time developing your relationships (with Him and others). Colossians 4:2 tells us “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Titus 3: 8 states “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Paul reminds us that as God’s people we must focus on doing what is good because it is in the best interest of everyone.
E stands for ENCOURAGE. Philippians 2: 1-2 teaches us “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” We need to take the opportunity during this holiday season to encourage those around us, both believer and non-believer, by having “the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” as our Lord and Savior. Colossians 2: 2-3 states “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Our greatest challenge as well as our greatest opportunity during this season is to share the completeness found in Jesus Christ.
R stands for REFLECT. Find time and a place where you can have quiet reflection of where you have been, where you are at present, and where you hope to go with your personal relationship with God. Psalm 26: 10 says “Be still, and know that I am God;” Make time to be still and know the awesomeness of God! Proverbs 27:19 tells us “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Search your heart and seek God’s direction and guidance for your life. 2 Corinthians 3: 17-18 says “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” Reflection can help us find true freedom from the worlds distorted views of the Christmas season and give us focus for glorifying our Lord and Savior during this season.
My prayer is that you will P-O-N-D-E-R this holiday season so that you might enjoy a “Right Christmas! Merry Christmas to you and yours and please remember the Reason for the Season!