The holiday season is a wonderful time that, for most people, focuses on family, friends, and fellowship. It involves traveling to see family, exchanging gifts and presents, and, if you are like my family, lots and lots of food. For most, the holidays are a time to reflect back on some of the best memories of one’s life as well as a time to look forward to making new memories. But beyond visions of sugarplums, there is also a wide open door of effective ministry during the holiday season to reach those who might be lost and hurting. The goal of this blog is not to dampen your Christmas plans and make you feel guilty for visiting grandma, but rather to encourage us all to consider how we can use this special time of year not only to love our families, but to love the world in which God has placed us. Christmastime is an especially important holiday season for the following three reasons.
Christmastime is about Loving Service
The inward focus that most of us have at Christmastime goes beyond just getting presents. We see it as a time that we need to guard for family and doing things that we want to do. While there is nothing wrong with spending time with family that we have not seen over the years, every Christian should remember that first Christmas, and that the Child who was born came to this world to serve.
Christ says in Matthew 20:28, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” His coming to the earth was marked by a loving care for people, not an expectation of being served. At Christmas time it can be really hard not to desire to be served. We can seek to have rest for our labor, but if we reflect on the purpose of Christ’s coming, it was to serve. So we are called to model that, and there is no better time to model that than at Christmastime.
Christmastime is about Open Doors of Ministry
Again, as we focus back on that first Christmas and recognize that Christ came to serve, He came at the ideal time, because there was a wide open door for effective ministry. He came because there was a need in mankind; we needed our sin to be forgiven. Had Christ only come when things were easy, convenient, or good for His schedule; the reality is He may never have come at all.
So often when we are presented with serving opportunities during this time of the year, the question that we all raise in our minds is what is best for us. This is really the wrong question. We need to see Christmas as a time to worship Christ. If we are about worshiping the Christ, then we will do the good deeds that he has laid out for us in advance (c.f. John 14:15; Eph. 2:10).
Christmastime is about Bringing the Gospel
Finally as we consider three things that Christmastime is about (and we could do many more), we are reminded in the Christmas songs that we sing of how the good news has come to us, how Christ is dwelling with us, and how we are saved. Sadly, however, we are often so focused on ourselves, that we are not thinking about reaching out to those who are lost at this time. In our songs and sermons we proclaim the gospel, but in our actions, we often close ourselves off to the world. Christ did not come to earth as a child so that we would have warm-fuzzies with our families (although nothing is wrong with that); He came so that we would share the good news with all men.
So this month, spend lots of time with family and friends. Turn off the TV and put down those electronic devices that distract you from things of value and worth. Consider how you can serve at church, consider how you can reach those around you who are lost, and consider how you can model Christ by making your holiday season about serving.