Anticipating Christmas

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I love everything about Christmas: decorating the tree, singing Christmas carols, drinking hot chocolate, looking at Christmas lights, baking treats to share with friends and family and moving the mouse on our family Christmas countdown.

Every year there is anticipation at Christmas. For many we anticipate the traditions or the actual gifts under the tree. As a child I became a pro at guessing what my gifts were. I was quite the investigator. A little shake in every direction, an intent listen, and I could tell which items on my list were in each box. Every day as I moved our little countdown mouse I anticipated Christmas morning when I could get under that tree and open my gifts.

This year things are changing. God is pricking my heart regarding the way I love Christmas. I am asking myself: Do I anticipate the coming of Jesus as much as I anticipate Christmas? Do I care more about stockings and Christmas presents than I do about Christ? There is a true struggle in my soul this year, because at my core I am still that little girl who cannot wait to gather around the tree and open her presents.

James 4:4 tells us

“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

1 John 2:15 says

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”

What do we see in these verses that speak to the way we love Christmas? How do we apply them to our anticipation of Christmas?

The world tells us that Christmas is about toys and clothes and things. The message, screaming at us every year, is “We need more!” Yet James tells us when we pattern our lives around the world that means we actually foster hatred toward God. Loving the things of the world means not having the love of God in us.

I am so convicted that we anticipate Christmas without worshipping Jesus. Christmas has nothing to do with me and the stuff I want. To think otherwise is to bow down at the altar of myself worshipping in idolatry.

I struggle to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ, every day.  Often we sit down, read the Christmas story once and call it good.  Or we set out our nativity and proclaim that we are worshipping Jesus this year, yet out hearts don’t change. How do we fight the idolatry that grows within us? I’m grateful that the Lord didn’t leave us to ourselves, but gave us His Word as a guide.

Romans 12:2 tells us

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

According to Romans, how do we battle the desire to be conformed to the world? We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. How does that happen? How do we renew our minds? How do we anticipate Christ this Christmas?

Dont take a vacation from the Word

Christmas is a time of vacation and rest.  It can be a struggle to be disciplined during vacation and we can unintentionally skip our time with Jesus. Don’t take a vacation from the Word of God. Instead spend more time with Him.

Daily Focus on Christ

Advent is a time of anticipating the arrival of Jesus. Use an advent reading plan to refocus each day around Christ.

Talk about it.

Consider the focus of your conversation this Christmas. Intentionally spend time with you family and friends talking about Jesus. Make Him the center of your conversation.

Ashlee

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