Let’s Make This Christmas Season Count

December is here again, which means the Christmas season is upon us. The stores have been pointing us here since October, but even for those who worked hard to keep Christmas in its season, the time of year has come again. If you’re like me, this season has a tendency to fly by. Before I’m ready for it, January will be here, and we’ll be starting all over again.

I don’t want it to be like that. I don’t want this season to fly by, but even more than that, I want it to count. The Christmas season carries with it significant celebration and opportunities, but there is a pace to this season that threatens to consume my good intentions.

So how do we make it count? More than just presents or family, how can we make this season intentionally about Jesus, the good news of great joy that is for all the people?

5 Ways to Make This Season Count

1) Expand the day into a season

For many people Christmas is a big day, and it comes and goes so fast. That’s where the season of Advent comes in. Advent comes form the latin word meaning “arrival.” The Advent season is a 4-week period when we intentionally reflect on the fulfilled promises of God in sending Jesus to save his people from their sins and that he is coming again. The message of Christmas is much more than a baby being born or a family gathering. It is the celebration of God fulfilling centuries-old promises to rescue and restore.

To connect with these promises and the season of Advent, you’ll need to spend a little time thinking ahead and make a plan. It can be as simple as you want it to be, but a little extra planning and focus can go a long way in your own heart and in your family during this season. Here are a few ideas for how to observe this season with your family.

2) Make a different kind of list

For lots of us presents play a part in this season, and for many, especially children, we spend lots of time thinking about what to put on our “wish list.” One great idea to help turn our focus from getting is to make a list of things you’re thankful for. Here are a few ideas for how to go about this:

  • Spend a few minutes every morning during the Advent season adding one thing you’re thankful for.
  • Pass a list around your family or friends, letting everyone add something they’re thankful for. As the list comes back around you’ll get to see the things others are thankful for.
  • Post a giant list somewhere in your house that people can add to and see getting longer.
  • Challenge the kids to see who can make the longest “What I’m thankful for” list.
  • Remember that gratitude has a destination. We’re not thankful to no one in particular. God gives good gifts to his children, and our thanks should be directed intentionally toward him.

3) Serve someone

As great as this season is for a lot of us, there are others for who this season is going to be difficult. Maybe something sad has happened in the last year, or they don’t have a good family situation, or physical circumstances leave them stranded or limited. Whatever the case, this season is a great time to put the gospel on display by serving someone around you.

  • Give financial help and your presence to a low-income family–gifts, food, help w/bills, decorating, etc.
  • Help someone decorate, rake leaves, or chop fire wood.
  • Take cookies, hot drinks, or small gifts to local teachers, a fire station, or an older couple or widow.

4) Live on mission

Think about this season for how it might allow you to either communicate the gospel to someone or build a friendship. Jesus coming into the world to save sinners was, after all, a missionary endeavor–he left his home, became like us, and gave us the good news of his salvation. There’s really no better expression of the Christmas spirit than to live on mission during the Advent season. Here are a few ideas:

  • Hand-deliver Christmas cards, a small Christmas craft, or baked goods. Use it as a chance to meet a new neighbor or have a conversation with one you already know.
  • Host a Christmas dinner party. Make some great food, light some peppermint-smelling candles, drink from actual glasses, and enjoy a nice evening with friends old and new.
  • Host a kids Christmas movie party. Invite families with kids to come drink hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie at your house. Use the time during the movie to have conversation with the adults.

5) Invite someone to our Christmas service

Many people around us are open to an invitation to be part of a Christmas or Christmas Eve service. For some, they grew up doing it and it’s nostalgic. For others, maybe there is some novelty in it. An invite to a Christmas service is a great way to connect someone with the community of our church and expose them to one of the most basic parts of the gospel, the Incarnation, in a non-threatening way.

Remedy’s Christmas service is Sunday, December 19th, at 6pm. You can find more about it here. If you aren’t in our city, think about who you can invite to be your guest at your own church’s Christmas services.

Enjoy the season. Merry Christmas!

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. -Luke 2:10–11