How to Prepare for Christmas
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10 NIV)
In the time in which we’re living, with horrible attacks everywhere leaving death and smashed lives in their wake, and with strife on every front, the world is looking for a demonstration of something different than what is happening around us. So we have the opportunity, as Christians, to share the good news of Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace. The only problem is that we need more than just a verbal presentation of the gospel. What the world is looking for is not just the message of the gospel, but the spirit of the gospel; not just the message of Christmas, but the spirit of Christmas. What good is it for Christians to celebrate Christmas and fight to get a Nativity scene in some public square yet have a nasty attitude that gives Jesus and Christianity a bad name? This tells me that we all need to prepare for Christmas, but not just by buying gifts and putting them under the tree. We need to prepare in a different way.
What makes Christianity special is the love of Jesus. The Bible says that God is love and Jesus was God in the flesh, so Jesus was walking, talking human love. That’s why people were drawn to him; because he was full of love. And as Christians, we’re to demonstrate his love. The apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that love must be sincere; and he exhorts us to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above ourselves. So this is the thing that is supposed to characterize Christians: not carrying a Bible, not coming to a building on Sunday and singing in a choir, not being white or black, or a Calvinist or Arminian or charismatic or evangelical. The thing that is supposed to characterize all of us is that we are people of love, because we serve a God who loves us so much that he gave his own Son as atonement for our sins.
As Christians, then, let’s all tell God, “I want to love more this Christmas!” That’s how we prepare for Christmas. There’s nothing wrong with putting up a tree and cooking, but that doesn’t have anything to do with how God looks at the way we’re preparing to celebrate the birth of his Son. He wants us to be children of love, loving each other sincerely. That’s what people around us need; that’s what they are looking for; because they’re not going to find it out there in the world. They will find sex and money and ambition, but they won’t find love. Do you think they’re going to find it in politics? Among the Democrats or the Republicans? Not a chance! So this is what God is teaching us: Show the world that you’re not like that; show them that you really love each other—not just the people in your church, but the people who belong to Jesus who are in different churches and different denominations; people who are of another race or ethnicity; people who are more educated than you or less educated than you; people who are rich and people who are poor.
How can we do that? God will help us do that. That’s why he gave us the Holy Spirit, so that we could love people. That’s what draws people to Christ. So to get ready for Christmas this year, we’ve got to ask God to help us to put on love. He will surely answer our prayer.
Read Romans 12:9-21.