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Devotional Archives
(December 3, 2002)

How to Genuinely Celebrate Christmas

      By Fern Horst

"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:16-18)

As we approach the Christmas season, many singles wonder how they will celebrate this special holiday. The traditional family orientation of the Christmas season sometimes accentuates and magnifies the sense of aloneness that many people feel throughout the year. As I read these verses in 1 John this week, it occurred to me that they give us a formula for living out the real meaning of Christmas - a formula that gives purpose for each of us for this season, whether or not we have a family to celebrate with!

Jesus' coming to Earth wasn't so that we could have warm fuzzies at Christmas time. He came to lay down His life for us so that we could have eternal life. We in turn are called to lay down our lives for others. Jesus told us that the whole law is summed up in two commandments to love: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength; and, love your neighbor as yourself.

The formula in these verses is this: if we have something to give - and all of us have something, whether it be simply a warm smile or a helping hand - we need to give it to those who have need. Christmas is all about celebrating the love that Christ showed us in coming to earth and laying down His life for us. When we focus on getting warm fuzzy feelings this time of year, we are missing the whole meaning of Christmas. It is celebrating only in word, only in intent, and not in action. It is a focus on me, rather than on the One whose coming we are celebrating and the reason why He came.

When we focus on finding someone who is in need to give to this Christmas season, we are celebrating in deed and in truth. The need may be physical, spiritual or emotional. It may be obvious to us, or it may be that the Lord will reveal a need that is not so obvious. We have enough time yet before Christmas to pray about who the Lord would have us give to of ourselves this holiday season. Let's make plans to celebrate Christ's birth by laying down our lives in some small way for those who the Lord puts on our hearts.

© 2002 Fern Horst

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