Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is fast approaching! As of now many Christians around the world are thinking of ways to celebrate it: reunion with family, a tall and bright-lighted Christmas tree inside the home, and a dinner table complete with sumptuous food. Many of us think of celebrating Christmas that way. Many of us also forget, however, that Christmas isn’t really a time to just have fun and all that. It’s also a time to remember and celebrate God’s mercies over our lives – that in the fullness of time He sent His one and only begotten Son to save and redeem us from sin.
That said, are you preparing for Christmas already? Here are some things you should do in preparation for a joy- and love-filled Christmas season.
1) Think of how much God loved you.
Dear friend, let’s take a closer look at who we were before we met Christ. That fact that we were deep in sin and yet God sent Jesus for us just shows how deep, how wide, how high, and how immense His love for us is. Think about it. When we honestly look at who we were, we begin to realize how undeserving we are of His unconditional and unfailing love. How could the holy, righteous, and just God love us so much that He would give up His only Son for us to be reconciled with Him?
2) Think of the many people around you who need to receive His love.
Dear friend, Christ came for you and for all. He died once for all for everybody to be given the opportunity to receive forgiveness, salvation, and reconciliation with God the Father. Think about it. You might be enjoying your life in Christ alright, but how about your family? How about your friends? How about that neighbor near you, the same guy you had barbecue with last Friday night? Have you shared the Gospel with them? Have they also repented of their sins, received Christ’s salvation, and are they enjoying God’s love through a relationship with Him?
You’re not the only one Christ came for. Christ came for all, and we should all take that to heart.
3) Think of what you can give to God in response to His love.
We wish to receive good gifts every Christmas. We pray to God to bless us and give us our heart’s desire. After all, when we delight ourselves in God, He promised to grant us our heart’s desires, right? God can make us happy alright, but more than that, He wants us holy. He wants us obedient to Him. He wants us to be a people fashioned in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ His Son, and honestly if we are given free rein to ask what we want, no one will probably ask God for more patience, humility, even an opportunity to suffer for His name’s sake (read Acts 5:41). Let’s all think of ways to honor God. Let’s all seek Him and ask Him, “what can I give to You, Lord?” This Christmas, let’s make it all about Him, and not about us. This Sunday at South Side we will unpack our message entitled “Why God Is Looking For You.” This will be a powerful message as we move into the Christmas season! Worship begins at 10:45, and we would love to see you there!
Barry Pettit is lead minister at South Side Church of Christ in Washington Court House.