I guess you could say that as a pastor I’m somewhat of an insider when it comes to Christmas. 😉 My profession calls me to guide people through the season. I see the season from the pulpit. And I also see it from the point of view of my family. I see it in the malls. And I also see it shining through the Scriptures.
So here’s the “insider’s” guide to Christmas:
- Prepare well. Don’t let the Day sneak up on you. You’ve still got enough time to get presents, bake, and clean. One thing that’s made our Christmas shopping easier is that we get our kids and their spouses: “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.” It helps make our preparations easier. Too many people let the stress of the season sneak up on them.
- Do something special. Make the time to take in a holiday concert, light display, or Christmas movie. The season goes so quickly. It slips away. Make sure that you slow it down just…a…bit by doing a few things that happen only at this time of the year.
- Serve someone else. People need our help all throughout the year. But this is truly the “giving” season. Shovel snow for a neighbor. Give food to the local food bank. Sing carols at a nursing home.
- Go to church. If you haven’t been for a while. Go on Christmas Eve. There are plenty of people who want to welcome you. They want to share with you the most important gift in this life: Love and forgiveness coming into the world in the form of the Son of God lying in a manger. No one will judge you. You won’t be conspicuous. You’ll be amongst people just like you: some who go to church every Sunday and some who only go on that one night. But they’re just like you. They need fellowship, community, and forgiveness. People spend inordinate amounts of time to do what they can to make you feel welcome on Christmas Eve. Give it a try. (And if you go every Christmas Eve, keep going!)
- Pay attention to the story. When you go to church, pay attention to the little details of the story. Take it at face value. Trust and believe that it really happened. Listen to it with fresh ears. In fact, try reading the story from Luke 2 before you open Christmas presents. See if it puts a new perspective on everything that happens after you read it.
If you had to create a guide for Christmas what would you include?