Seagrove Baptist Church
Friday, December 06, 2013
Your Place For Faith, Family & Friends
The J-O-Y of Christmas
If you could use one word to describe Christmas, what word would it be? Some people would use words like headache, busyness, expensive, or even bothersome. For many people, Christmas is just another day, only a little more expensive and a lot more trouble! I have even heard Christians use these words to describe the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. How sad that an event that brought so much joy in Heaven should bring so little joy here on earth. I would like to suggest to you as we begin this beautiful season of the year that this Christmas season can be a time of joy, no matter how broke you are or how busy you are. Joy is like love, it is not merely an emotion, but a decision, and I believe you can be as joyful as you want to be. It’s all in where you choose to put your focus. If you really want to have joy this Christmas season, let me suggest 3 things to focus your heart and mind.
1. FOCUS ON JESUS (Galatians 2:20)
In a timeless Christmas TV special, Charlie Brown asks if anyone knows what Christmas is about, and Linus recites the story of Christ’s birth from Luke 2. Have we forgotten that Christmas is not primarily about us, our family, friends, church, and presents, but about Him (Jesus)? We often get so wrapped up in the celebration that we forget what it is we are supposed to be celebrating? The world does that. It has become politically incorrect to say Merry Christmas, instead they want us to say Happy Holidays or Merry Xmas. But even without buying into the world’s ways, you can forget what Christmas is all about by forgetting Jesus. If you are a Christian, focusing on Jesus means that you not only remember the Savior in the manger, but remember the Savior in your heart. Remember that this baby grew up and went to the Cross to pay for your sins, that He rose again to give you a new life, and that He lives in your heart today to give you joy! Galatians 2:20," I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Not only was Jesus born in Bethlehem, but by faith and by His Spirit He lives in us. That should fill us with joy!
2. FOCUS ON OTHERS (Acts 20:35)
Focusing on Jesus should also help us develop the attitude that would bring us joy which we find in Acts 20:35," And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus:' It is more blessed to give than to receive." Paul quotes Jesus here to point out the joy of generosity. Christmas is the time we celebrate the most wonderful gift God has given us, Jesus. His focus in giving Christ to the world was His love for others, and He gave us an example that we should also be willing to follow. Joy does not come from getting all we can get from others, but in giving all we can give to others. It is this focus on others that will bring us joy. If you want to know joy at Christmas, then discover the joy of giving. Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these, you do for Him. If you want joy this Christmas, find someone in need, and in the name of Christ, give to them of your time and your treasures. There are plenty of lonely, needy people, and the Holy Spirit will show them to you, if you are willing to look for them. The Bible says that you will find joy by focusing on others instead of yourself.
3. FOCUS ON YOURSELF
There is a sense in which you are to focus on yourself. Your own attitudes determine whether or not you will experience joy this year. You can let worry, stress, unforgiveness, or discouragement rob you of the joy of Jesus. Everyone struggles sometimes, but please understand attitude is not automatic. You choose to allow an attitude to rule you. How do I know? Because the Bible commands us not to allow these things to rule our lives, and God would not command us to do what we cannot (in His strength) do.
Worry and stress? Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
Unforgiveness? Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you."
Discouragement? 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17 "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say."
The fact is, you can be full of faith, or full of doubt; full of the Spirit’s joy or full of the world’s woe. Consider your thoughts, listen to your words, watch your actions and ask yourself, do I have the joy of the Lord, or am I wallowing in the pool of my own tears? Vance Havner said "Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts, the gift of God to man, His unspeakable gift of His Son, and the gift of man to God, when we present our bodies a living sacrifice."