Preparing for Christmas
Today’s Text: John 3:16-17
WALKING THROUGH THE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
For most people, preparation for Christmas is well underway. In our subdivision, Christmas trees shine brightly through tall windows, decorations are in place and outdoor lights already twinkle to create a veritable winter wonderland. All that is lacking is the snow!
For Christians, the following two verses help prepare us both mentally and spiritually for this most enjoyable season:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Recently, I watched pre-dawn TV while enjoying a double shot cappuccino and raisin toast. I sat through three segments of “news” designed to help viewers prepare for the holidays.
The first covered the “coolest toys on everybody’s Christmas list.” These were wow-factor gift ideas for “big kids” including a quadcopter with a built in camera, a multi-tool iPhone case, a handheld espresso maker and Bluetooth shower speaker. Yes, they were very cool!
After a lengthy commercial break, there was a didactic moment on “How-to keep from gaining weight during the holiday season.” Six minutes into monologue, the anchor offered this advice: “Limit your food intake during the holidays.” I was happy to be reminded that self-discipline has obvious benefits, especially at Christmas time!
Finally, statistics on spending habits during the holidays were highlighted. I was shocked to hear that Americans spent around $93 billion on Christmas in 2015. Researching those statistics later that day, I was stunned to discover that the real number is closer to $600 billion ($93 billion was the amount spent on Internet purchases alone). The commercial aspect of Christmas suddenly loomed large before me in a way I had never previously comprehended.
My good friend, don’t misunderstand. I’m not judging or preaching against toys, food or even the spending associated with Christmas—they’re part of the Christmas season as celebrated in our culture.
It’s true, we don’t need all the toys; we probably shouldn’t overindulge during the holidays and would undoubtedly benefit from giving more thought to how we use our finances at Christmas.
However, for one month every year, the majority of people in the Western world celebrate the one holiday associated with Jesus’ birth.
Undoubtedly, this solitary fact—that the true reason we celebrate is because of the Incarnation of the perfect God-man—explains the determined efforts over the past four decades to secularize Christmas.
That being said, the Christmas season is still the prime opportunity to communicate that our faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ makes us different!
• Biblically authentic Christians will grasp the central truth of Christmas and testify of God’s greatest gift to mankind—His Son, Jesus Christ!
• Biblically authentic Christians—who have properly prepared their minds and hearts for this unique season—can experience and demonstrate genuine joy and goodwill!
• Biblically authentic Christians will be the people at the mall who are not stressed and irritable!
• Biblically authentic Christians recognize that every encounter is an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ!
• Biblically authentic Christians resist miserly stinginess by freely reaching-out to others in need!
• Biblically authentic Christians unabashedly wish people “Merry Christmas” and their greeting will ring true!
Even when rebuffed for using the words, Merry Christmas, Biblically authentic Christians will kindly respond, “I’m sorry, Christmas celebrates God’s gift to the whole world and I didn’t want to exclude you.”
You can choose to enjoy and optimize your influence this Christmas season by preparing your heart and mind. You can be a vibrant testimony of the wonderful message encapsulated in the celebration of Christ’s birth.
Walk with me through the next 25 days as we focus our minds and hearts on the awesome message of Christmas!
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via contact form. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Walking to church (c. 1853). By George Henry Durrie (1820–1863) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) President Reagan and Nancy Reagan Christmas photograph in the Blue Room, 12/09/1986. By Fitz-Patrick (White House Photographic Office) [PD-US], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Categories: Walking Through the Days of Christmas