Christmas is the celebration of Life Himself entering the world to overcome the death and decay that surround us. So it only makes sense that Christmas should be life-giving, not soul-killing. The rest of the year might have dragged you through the mud, but you can still use your Christmas to seek restoration and wholeness. Here are seven ideas on how:
1. Spotlight grace.
For Santa, presents depend on being more nice than naughty. But for God, his gift of Jesus came to us despite us being enemy combatants opposing him and his ways. In other words, his gift is really a gift. It’s a free gift, not payment. It’s grace. At Christmas, we give and share and invite, regardless of whether the recipient deserves it—because at the very core of God’s being he is bursting and overflowing with a can’t-be-contained and can’t-be-stopped grace.
Make sure the people in your life don’t misunderstand why you’re giving to them. It’s not because you have to. It’s not because they’re perfect. It’s because this is a season of celebrating grace by enacting grace. So when you give presents give them freely, based on grace. When you give thanks for meals, voice your thanks for grace. Have conversations about grace. Tell your family about grace. Rant about grace. Praise God as you stand in awe of grace.
2. Care for your own heart.
Whether you’re away from your home, running on a tight schedule, seeing people who may drain you, or are simply overwhelmed with busyness, the season’s distractions can leave your heart less than worshipful. So prioritize time for prayer and reflection. Protect a few quiet, unhurried moments for sincere prayer. Wake up early or stay up late or sneak off in the middle of the day—but make a way to celebrate God’s great love for you and this world. Just a few minutes can transform your Christmas from humdrum towards God to exultant.
3. Re-tell the story.
Gather your family or friends or whoever will listen, and read the story of Jesus’ birth. Read Matthew 1 and 2 or Luke 1 and 2, or go philosophical and read the beautiful praises in John 1:1-18 or Colossians 1:15-20. As you read, especially if you’re doing it with kids, share your own wonder at God becoming human. Read slowly enough that you can process and reflect—your listeners will appreciate it too.
4. Sing great Christmas carols.
Or at least listen to them. And as you do, listen to the beauty of the content—so many of these songs tell the story so well. Sing with your lips, yes, but more importantly sing with your whole heart!
Many classic Christmas songs (“O Holy Night”, “Joy to the World”, etc.) are great. But if you’re looking for something new, check out Josh Garrels’s free Christmas album here. Tons of folks around here at Redemption love it.
5. Engage with your church.
It’s good to see your family on Christmas. But don’t forget your church people. You don’t need official events to engage with them. You don’t even need to be in the same city to engage with them. Send a text or a snap, remind them of your love for them and nurture your spiritual family. They may need you more than you realize this Christmas.
6. Build His kingdom.
Jesus teaches that we can look to our treasures to see where our hearts are. That’s true even at Christmas. We want our hearts to be set on His kingdom and not ours, so we’ve challenged ourselves at Redemption to spend at least as much money, time, and energy on His kingdom as ours this Christmas season.
7. Join us!
We have two great candlelight services on Christmas Eve, at 5p and 11p. The 5p will be boisterous, fun, full of songs, and kid-friendly. The 11p will be a bit more intimate--and it'll be one of our favorite services all year long. Both will help you worship our God who became human. We'd love to see you there. Bring everyone you know that might need Jesus too.
If you need a good way to invite them, maybe you can send them this page that has more info.