Posted by: pastortomvabeach | November 12, 2015

Thought for the Week November 15, 2015

One of the local radio stations began playing 24-hour a day Christmas music the day after Halloween. For some that may seem a bit much, but as soon as I heard about it, I tuned my car radio to the station. I have a confession to make. I am a Christmas music junkee. I think it began when I worked as a stock boy in a camera store that also sold reel-to-reel tape recorders. One of my jobs during the holidays was to keep the machine running constantly with recorded Christmas music. After being a recreational listener for a few days, I got hooked! I sometimes even pop in my Christmas cassettes (yes, I’m that old) in the summertime.

The thing I love about Christmas carols is that they preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in song so that it is memorable. Secular Christmas songs express the joy of celebrating Jesus’ birth and, except for a few, are all upbeat and uplifting. Christmas music always lifts my spirit.

I wanted to mention this to you at this time, before the madness of the holiday season begins to pick up to ask you if you have a plan that you can put into action so that you intentionally make Jesus the center of your Christmas celebration and so that you don’t get overwhelmed with all the merry making that Jesus gets lost in the distraction. I can tell you this from experience and from pure logic – if you don’t have a plan, if you are not intentional, Jesus will be forgotten and the reason for the season will be left behind.

Would you take these next ten days or so before Thanksgiving and make a concrete and very deliberate plan that will keep you on track and keep Jesus in your Christmas celebration? Here are some simple ideas:

1) Purchase or download an advent calendar that has specific Bible readings for each day beginning with November 29 and going till Christmas day. Then make a plan to either follow the readings individually or with your family (which might be best). Do it at meal times, bed time, or some time that can be consistent every day.

2) Write a Christmas letter to a missionary each week during Advent. For missionaries, letters feel like opening a priceless gift on Christmas morning, no matter what day it comes. Many missionaries are unable to travel home for the holidays, so it can be a very lonely time for them. Write a special Christmas letter thanking them for giving their life in service to the Lord. It will mean more than you can imagine and will help you to focus on what Jesus has done and will do through you. Our church office can give you addresses.

3) Send Christmas cards with a biblical message. Get your family involved in signing the cards and maybe praying for each addressee before you seal the envelopes.

4) Attend Advent and Christmas Eve Services. Plan your schedule so that you don’t miss assembling with fellow believers during this special time of year. Remind your family that you are going and encourage them so they anticipate how the Lord will meet you there.

5) Listen to Christmas carols. While I enjoy all Christmas music, the Christian carols tell the story of Jesus very plainly. Maybe you could listen to a different carol each day and then discuss what it teaches with your family.

6) Set up a Nativity scene in your home. Let your children help set it up and explain what each piece represents, maybe by reading the accounts of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke.

7) Visit someone who can’t get out to celebrate Christmas. Maybe you know someone who is homebound, in a convalescent center, in the hospital, or is some other way limited. A visit could bring them joy and help you to experience the joy of Jesus.

8) Invite a friend to attend Advent or Christmas Eve services with you. This is a special time of year when even unchurched people are thinking about the season, they hear the music, and they might like to accompany you to church. Jesus came to bring good tidings of great joy to all people. What better way to keep Christ in Christmas than by giving someone the opportunity to hear the gospel and possibly receive His gift of salvation?

Whether these ideas help or you have another idea, I encourage you to make a plan and be intentional. That way you’ll experience the wonder of Christ despite the noise of the world around you and the distractions that abound. Do it and you’ll see. Just a thought.

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