Merry Christmas! Whoops, you may be reading this a day or so after Christmas. Hmmm… Well then, Happy… um, New Year? Hmm, that seems premature too. Okay, I’m confused. What do I write to you about? All this hype leading up to Christmas, and now it’s here! And… now it’s gone.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get depressed on Christmas. How can that be? It’s one of the greatest days of the year, and it’s the celebration of our Savior’s birth! Well, even as a kid I used to get a little depressed. After all the gifts were opened, after Luke 2 was read, and all the wrapping paper had been stuffed into big black trash bags, I’d sit there and think, It’s over, I have to wait another whole year for Christmas!
Sometimes my depression wasn’t so noble. Some years I didn’t get “the gift” that I really wanted. Some years, I was upset that my brother got something I didn’t, or that his pile of presents was bigger than mine (wow, I was a brat!). I bet you can see where the problem was. My focus was on ME and what I got out of Christmas. My focus was in all the wrong places and not on Christ.
As an adult, I like to believe that I’ve grown out of my childish ways. I make a point of trying to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. I keep that in my mind all season long. Still… there is often that sadness right after Christmas. I call it the Christmas Cooldown. All that hype and all that pressure on a single day, and as soon as it’s finally here, it’s gone.
How do we overcome the Christmas Cooldown and let the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth fuel us rather than deflate us?Click to tweet
We like to plan. We often live for the future. In high school, our life really starts once we go to college. Then our life REALLY starts after we graduate. Oh, but then we need a job. That’s when life REALLY starts… or so we think. Always waiting for the future means we are never living in the present. God wants us to live in the moment and not worry about tomorrow. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” (Matthew 6:34).
At Christmas, so much of our focus is on getting it just right. We spend more time planning for Christmas Day than actually celebrating Christmas. My goal this year has been to really enjoy and celebrate Christmas all season long! I did this by taking note of the little things I love about this time of year- the way my son lit up each morning at the sight of the Christmas tree, hearing a carol over the radio while my car heater warmed my frozen hands, drinking hot chocolate – LOTS of hot chocolate! In all these moments, I made it a point to try to remember to thank God for all of them.
For Christmas 2018 I want to do even more. Here are some ideas I have that could help you as well.
First, starting in December, plan for all your Bible studies to focus on Jesus’ birth. This can be the actual story of His birth, but it can also be a look at all the prophecies in the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled, or it can even be a deeper look into the Gospel. All these things point to Jesus and why we have reason to celebrate.
Second, plan events for your family or friends that celebrate Christmas and point to Christ. Go caroling. Have different family members tell the Christmas story. How about a cookie decorating party with a verse as a theme? And before you ask, yes, this is a man blog. And YES, cookie decorating parties are very manly. You do get to eat them after all!
Have any ideas? Share them in the comments below!
If we make it our goal to celebrate Christmas every day, we aren’t putting all the focus on our plans for Christmas Day itself. That way, if it doesn’t go according to plan (whose holidays do?), it doesn’t throw off your celebration!
Do you see what I did there? I’m already making plans for next year! I can’t even enjoy today because I’m already planning for next Christmas! Didn’t I just write almost a whole blog on living and celebrating in the moment? Whoops! I guess it’s just in our nature, isn’t it? Well, plans like these aren’t bad, as long as we don’t make it our main goal to fulfill these plans. Our goal should be glorifying God!
That’s really the ultimate solution for the Christmas Cooldown. Make your joy come from glorifying Christ, not what enjoyment you get out of any of these activities in and of themselves. As I Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
If our focus is on celebrating Christ and glorifying Him, then our joy will be found in the Lord as well, not in the presents, not in the parties, not even in the cookies. Although they help!
So, Brother, Merry Christmas! It may have already passed, but the joy of Christ is something worth celebrating all year long!
Family Radio Staff