Remember Jesus Christ over the Holidays. I am so tempted personally to get selfish over the holidays. The time that is meant for thanksgiving to God, I make about me. I am tempted to want to serve less, think about my needs more, and to associate rest with gorging myself with food and TV. I thank God for holidays. They are much needed for time with family and friends, naps, reading good books, playing games, watching sports or a movie or a myriad of other things we find enjoyable. But in all our leisure we can’t forget Jesus. Signs that we have forgotten Jesus over the holidays is when we don’t serve others; we get angry easier at others because our plans aren’t working out (Holidays are notorious for anger associated with unexpressed yet unmet expectations); we begin to think more about getting than giving (Husbands help lead your family to think about how this holiday season can be more about giving than receiving). Other signs that we have forgotten Jesus is that we give ourselves license to sin- overeating, overspending, neglecting responsibility especially in the home; we also forget to proclaim the gospel in our homes and to others we come in contact with (don’t forget to act like Jesus especially on Black Friday. Whew that day can be rough). The sad thing is that I can make this list and more because I have done them all. So I write not only to caution your heart but mine. What prompts this blog is the sad wandering of my own heart. Even as I try to finish my work-week, I am looking so forward to “the holidays” that I feel the gravitational pull to forget Jesus.
The great news of the gospel is that we aren’t left as orphans. Our heavenly Father has given us his Spirit promising that we can walk in joy-filled hope and obedience this holiday season. “If God did not spare his Son but gave him over for us all, how will he not also in Him graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32). “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,…” (2 Peter 1:3). Therefore if he has given his Son for us he will give us everything we need not to forget Jesus. If he can raise Christ from the dead, he can deliver on His promises to produce his fruit in our lives.
So friends take these days that God has given, whether you have several days off of work or none off, to remember Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:8). Remember to show genuine concern for others, especially if you are spending time with family that you never see. Pray for ways to get to the gospel and to express how God is at work in your life. Remember to love those that are closest to you. We can get so relaxed that we become self-absorbed and forget to love, in word and deed, those we love most. If you have holiday traditions, don’t give into the temptations of the devil to forget Jesus. Express thanksgiving to God throughout the holidays, not just at the thanksgiving dinner table. If you put up the Christmas tree (which we do every day after thanksgiving) don’t get mad at the Christmas lights which always seem to get tangled or go out or are too bunched in one part of the tree or get knotted up by the kids, etc. (You can tell that is a potential point of tension for me). Make it your mission to lead out in joy. Be on your guard and even if everyone around you is choosing to be sour, you can choose joy by the Spirit. Be thankful. And Remember Jesus Christ. Make the most of these days because the days are evil and the evil one will try to cut you down with his fiery darts of self-pity, discouragement, materialism, or self-absorption. I am praying that God rescues us from Christless rest and makes us mindful of mission over the holidays. Have a great time over these next few days enjoying Jesus, lovingly pursuing others like he did you and me. He pursued us in our sinfulness all the way to the cross. So this holiday season Remember Jesus Christ.