How should a Christian celebrate Christmas? Jesus gives this famous teaching where He describes the Spirit-led, heaven-focused life. It applies to all Christians throughout the year, but here are some specific insights for this Christmas season.
1. Shine Your Light. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (5:16). Here, Jesus exhorts us TO show others what Christmas is all about. This is not the season to be a closet-Christian. Be a bold, joyful witness this season and show people that it’s not just your personality- it’s an opportunity for them to glorify their Father in heaven.
2. Reconcile Relationships. “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (5:23-24). We can deceive ourselves into thinking this is a season about gifts, gifts, and more gifts. But if you stop and think about it, it’s not about gifts; it’s about relationships. That’s what makes this time of year so special. Which relationships do you need to reconcile? Don’t let pride get the better of you; get closer with family & friends this Christmas season.
3. Go the Extra Mile. “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” (5:41). Jesus gives some amazingly practical relational advice and it is particularly helpful during the holiday season. You will be asked to do things you don’t want to do (shop, wrap gifts, go to a certain party, family pictures), and those things provide a perfect opportunity to go the extra mile with someone. Serve joyfully and bountifully.
4. Give Secretly. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (6:3-4). Christmas is a great time to give, and we are motivated by God who gave His only Son. This is a time when several non-profits, charities and churches need to pay their year-end bills. This is a time when those in financial and relational poverty can become discouraged. Let’s give to these needs. If able, I encourage you to visit World Vision’s Christmas catalog and give towards a specific need. And heed the instructions of Jesus, and DON’T TELL ANYONE. That’s right- don’t tweet about, don’t mention it casually at lunch- just give and let God be the only one to know!
5. Stop Worrying. “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (6:25). This holiday is filled with distraction. Christmas tends to involve large amounts of food, drink, and clothes. Here, Jesus reminds us that these material things aren’t worth the anxiety. As the late Corrie ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Stand firm this year to reject the influence of culture on your heart and mind, and be free to love God and love others.