My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming” (Psalm 27:8, NLT).
Friend to Friend
Have you ever found yourself so caught up in the activity of Christmas that you had no time to spend with the God we celebrate? I sure can relate to quick prayer times and less Bible study in my Decembers. I’ve found that spending time with Jesus is a great way to say, “Happy Birthday.” Yet those cards have to be mailed, presents bought, cookies made, and parties attended. So how can we get it all done and still invite Jesus to His own party? We don’t want to just add more items to our already overflowing to-do lists, but we can make small adjustments in our posture and mindset regarding the things we are already doing.
We can slow down and ask questions like:
- Why am I doing this?
- How will it honor Christ?
- How will this activity impact my family?
As I look at Scripture, I see that God initiated and instituted times of celebration. He loves a good party! He longs for us to come and talk with Him. God gave the Israelites instructions for the Passover so His people wouldn’t forget their deliverance from Egypt. Many seasons of holy celebration were commanded by God such as the festivals of harvest, trumpets, shelters, and the Day of Atonement. These were times of remembrance to help God’s people focus on His character and historical moments of His faithfulness. Holy days are meant to draw us nearer to the Lord rather than keep us busy and distracted so that we have no time for Him.
The Bible doesn’t give us any specific commands on how we are to celebrate Christmas. We have so much freedom to use our creativity to find ways to remember and celebrate what the Lord has done. In looking at celebrations in the Old Testament, we can find elements of biblical parties that we can apply to our own festivities:
- Rituals – special activities out of the ordinary routine to help remember what God has done.
- Relationships – people spent time together preparing and eating special foods, gathering in holy assembly, and explaining their traditions to children.
- Rest – regular work was to be set aside for planned times of celebration and rest from activity in order to reflect on God.
In thinking about my Christmas celebrations, I know many times I have gotten so caught up in the activity of the season that I’ve lost the meaning behind our family traditions. I can’t say that most of my holidays have included rest or a lot of time for people in the midst of an overflowing to-do list.
As we evaluate our thoughts, time, and spending, we can make small changes that yield big dividends in our pursuit of knowing our Savior. We can identify rituals that bring us headaches instead of joy and let them go this year. We also might want to discover new traditions to keep our focus on Christ in a more intentional way. Spending time with people was a big focus of celebrations in the Bible. We can focus on appreciating and making time for others during holiday season.
The last element, rest, runs counter-cultural for most of us. Incorporating rest into our schedules will allow us to be still in God’s presence and find rest not only for our bodies but also our souls. God longs for us to draw near to Him in every season, but let’s be sure He is invited to own His own birthday celebration.
Our hearts can hear Him say, “Come and talk with Me.” Hopefully we won’t respond by saying, “Lord, I’m too busy.” Like the Psalmist, we can reply, “Lord, I am coming.”
Dear Lord, I don’t want to get so caught up in getting things done that I forget what Christmas is all about. Help me to carve out sacred moments during the season we remember that You came to earth. Thank you for being my Savior. Give me wisdom as I participate in rituals, focus on relationships, and make time to rest in You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
As you consider the postures of biblical celebration including rituals, relationships, and rest – which one needs attention as you consider your own holiday preparation? What is one small step you can take to keep Christ at the center of your Christmas activities?
More from the Girlfriends
Check out Melissa’s holiday devotional titled Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose
for practical ways to focus on Rituals, Relationships, and Rest this season.
© 2020 by Melissa Spoelstra. All rights reserved.