Don’t Let Christmas Crowd Out Christ

by Dec 14, 2023Christian Living, Encouragement, Holidays

Christmas is a wonderful time of reflection for believers. It is also a hectic time of distraction. The pressures of shopping, travel, attending events, etc. can highjack our thoughts and derail our normal routines.

Because of this, the Christmas season can steal our focus away from what matters most in our lives, knowing God and making Him known to others. In other words, the season of celebrating Christ’s birth has the potential to keep us from participating in Christ’s mission.

Here are three “pitfalls” that believers can fall into during the holiday season, why they hinder us from participating in Christ’s mission, and how to avoid them altogether.

1. Myopia

Myopia is short-sightedness. Spiritual myopia occurs when we turn our focus inward to ourselves rather than outward to others.  This can happen during the Christmas season when we can become over-absorbed with OUR agendas, OUR “to do” and “to buy” lists, and even OUR own enjoyment.

I am not saying that we should not enjoy Christmas. I am saying that we should strive for balance. Here are some ideas to help:

  • Remember that God is still at work in the lives of people during the holidays. The world may take a holiday, but God’s mission does not.
  • Knowing that God uses people to accomplish His mission, surrender yourself to Him in prayer each morning. Perhaps pray something like this, “Lord, I am your servant and I ask you to use me today to help move the people I encounter closer to Christ.”
  • Ask God to help you recognize opportunities and to help you to see others as He sees them, not as obstacles to your agenda but as opportunities to advance His.

 2. Materialism

If you only listened to commercials, you would think Christmas is about giving and getting gifts. We know better as Christians, but sometimes we act as if it were true. The amount of time, attention, and money we spend buying and exchanging gifts is staggering.

There is nothing wrong with buying gifts, but again balance is needed.

  • Spend at least four times the amount of time praying for friends and family as you do shopping for them. Your prayers are one of the greatest gifts you can give someone.
  • Give people the gifts of time and a listening ear in addition to the gifts you buy. This is much more valuable than an expensive gift.
  • Evaluate your spending, create a budget, and stick to it. Do not let anxieties about debt from buying expensive presents keep you from “being present” when you are interacting with others.

3. Margin

Margin is the “breathing room” we have on our calendars. During the holidays we run the risk of putting so much on our plate that there is no time or resources available to minister to others, particularly unexpected opportunities God may lay at our feet.

How do we keep that from happening? Again, balance is the key.

  • Remember that if you are too busy to spend time with God each day, you are too busy. Our effectiveness in His mission is related to the time we spend in His presence (John 15:5).
  • Ruthlessly evaluate your calendar in prayer before the Lord. Ask Him to guide you as to what to subtract by asking the question, “Does this event or activity move me and/or others closer to God?” Do not be afraid to ditch unnecessary traditions and activities if they distract or detract from His mission.
  • For those events you must attend, ask the Lord to use you in the lives of those who will also attend. Focus on being His servant during the gathering. Enjoy yourself but be aware of the opportunities He provides.

Remember that Christmas is about Jesus’s mission to bring others to God. Make the time and take the time this Christmas to do the same.