Make Christmas more like Easter

Published 9:20 am Monday, January 10, 2011

That was a line in an interview I saw a few weeks before Christmas, with two people discussing the consumerism during Christmas.

The whole thought behind the line was to return back to the true meaning of Christmas make that the main focus. Christmas is the time when we reflect and meditate on God’s arrival on the planet, born as one of us named Jesus.

Like we do at Easter, remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus. At Easter there are no “Good Friday” sales to go to, or any countdown with the increasing pressure to purchase gifts before the day arrives.

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At Easter we as Christians focus in on our Savior and Lord, and what he did for us. Through his death and resurrection he made possible for all of humanity to enter into a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus.

It seems that one of the hardest things for Americans to do at Christmas is focus on Jesus. A recent Lifeway survey says that most Americans do celebrate Christmas with 91 percent saying so.

What is included in most Christmas Celebrations: watch fictional Christmas movies, gather for a meal with family and friends, decorate, listen to Christmas music, put up a tree, and give gifts to family. Less than half say they read the Christmas story from the Bible (28 percent), and only 47 percent will attend church during the Christmas holiday.

What is encouraging is that 62 percent believe Jesus is the reason for Christmas, but few will do anything Jesus focused.

How was your Christmas? You have had time to reflect on it a bit. Was it gone before you had time to reflect on the wonder of the arrival of the creator of the universe in human flesh?

If so, we have 11 months to make plans top change that. We don’t have to go any further than the word of God to show us.

Hebrews 12: 1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a]Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[c] then you won’t become weary and give up.

The writer encourages us in order to run the race of faith well we must strip off every thing that slows us down, especially the sin that can trip us up.

He commands us to have endurance to continue in faith in Christ, and doing the will that God has for us. How to do that? He says, try harder right? NO!

In order to do this you must “keep your eyes on Jesus.” He is the one who has begun this life of faith in you, and he will perfect it. What you need to do is to keep your focus on him.

How do we keep our focus on Jesus when everything is trying to keep our focus away from him? We have to maintain that intense focus by thinking, contemplating, meditating on Jesus. What occupies your time and life? What ever you are occupied with will come out of your mouth.

What you talk about most of the time? If it is not Jesus, then we must correct that. There is a hymn that we sing that says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. Then the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

When our eyes are opened to his glory and grace, all other things will pale in comparison. Keep your focus on Jesus, follow him, read the words he said in God’s Word, and hang out with other people who are focused on Jesus.

Want a Merry Christmas 2011? Make Christmas more like Easter.

Mike McMorris is the pastor for Robinsonville Baptist Church.