Let’s put Christ back in Christmas

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

2 Corinthians 9:15

As we approach Christmas there are lots of things to keep in mind.

One is the reason for the season.

CHRIST

The whole reason that Christians celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ. 

Sometimes that gets lost in the hustle and bustle though.  Even for me.

I get caught up in whether this person likes this gift or should I have spent more money on it. Or what are we going to make for Christmas dinner?  Will someone be upset if we aren’t home for Christmas?

Instead of focusing on the real reason for the celebration.

If you know me, you know that I read/listen to a ton of books on self-growth.  I also take time and $$ to invest in that for my own wellbeing. 

One of the people that I follow is Tony Robbins. And he says that where focus goes, energy flows. 

You might be asking Dan why we are talking about focus and self-growth. This devotional is all about bringing Christ back into Christmas.

Just stick with me for a minute, I promise I’m getting there.

If we focus on all the questions we asked ourselves above, are we truly focusing on the real reason for the season?

NO.

And so our energy goes into buying gifts, pleasing other people, and what to make for dinner.

The good lord told us not to worry about any of that stuff.  Matthew 6:25-34. 

Instead, I want everyone to focus on Christ. focus on the gift that we were given when a virgin conceived a child. focus on the growth of that child and all that we know he has done for our world. Focus on what is to come from him as well.  Our salvation and pathway to work our butts off for the best leader in the world.

When we start to focus on the real reason, Christ, our mindset changes and all that other stuff no longer matters.

The second thing to keep in mind is that while our world has commercialized all holidays, especially this one. Giving an expensive gift is not the most important thing.

I know of LOTS of people who dive deep into credit card debt for this holiday in particular.  They spend more than they have to show someone they like (or don’t like) how much they care.

I want to encourage you to STOP right now.  I know this is coming out way too close to Christmas to change your plans this year. But STOP right now and think about why you are giving gifts.

Is it because you feel obligated to?

Or

Is it because you want to honor God’s gift to us?

I want to encourage you to read the book The Five Love Languages.

I know what you’re thinking, wow this guy really pushes this book. He must be getting some kind of kickback or percentage of the sales.  But I’m not, it’s just that good of a book.

When you read it this time, don’t just think about your partner. Think about everyone in your life.  See if you can figure out their love language.

Then when you give gifts stick close to their love language. 

If someone craves quality time. Your gift might not be the hottest off of amazon. Instead, it might be a day out together where you grab lunch, go shopping and get your nails done. (I don’t recommend the last one if it’s a guy.  But hey, you never know)

If they crave words of affirmation, give them the gifts of compliments throughout the year.

If they crave gifts, remember that a gift is something from the heart, not the pocketbook. For someone who truly loves gifts, it will never matter how much it costs, only the amount of thought you put into the gift.

If they crave physical touch. Then by all means give them more hugs. Be sure to give the gift of a warm hug every time you see them.

If they crave acts of service, then make it a point to do something nice for them multiple times.  Like unloading the dishwasher or folding the clothes or picking up their papers off the printer at the office.

My whole point here is that when we give gifts it doesn’t matter how much it “hurts our pocketbook”. What really matters is that we tried our best to show our love.

So today we want to encourage everyone to pray. Pray now, pray often, pray more. Just Pray.

And as we work our way through the Christmas season be sure to think about the gift God gave us over 2000 years ago!

So when you see anyone don’t hesitate to tell them “MERRY CHRISTmas” be sure to emphasize the CHRIST!

Take Action:

Today we want you to take action by changing the way you think.  When you go looking for gifts or give gifts to others, think about Christ. 

Think about what this person would really love.  Just a little hint it might not be a gift that you can buy.  It might be a lunch date or a dinner date or a weekend on the beach (everyone, except my dad, loves a weekend at the beach.  He won’t even take a bath because the water gets over his ankles.  Just kidding, but not really.  Love you, dad).

Say Merry CHRISTmas to everyone you meet.  Don’t be scared to share your love for God with the world. 

I can’t tell you the number of conversations I have had to start that ended up being GREAT for everyone in the conversation.

Be sure to even talk to strangers and tell them Merry CHRISTmas.

When you write in the card of your gift (if you are giving one) include a verse that is close to your heart. 

Since every verse in the bible is inspiring I like to close my eyes, focus on Christ, open the bible, take my finger and place it on the page, take a quick guess in my head what book it was opened up to and what chapter, (I like to make it a game), then open my eyes and read the verse that my finger is on.

Don’t tell anyone but that’s how I choose most of the verses for these devotionals. Lol

Then write that verse in the card. Share it with the world.

Whatever you do, remember to thank God for the gift he gave us that day so long ago and all the gifts that he gives us still today.

Prayer

Lord, God You are amazing!  We are so grateful that you blessed your world and your people with all of these miracles.  You had a virgin give birth to a son and she named him Jesus.  You saved their marriage, had them move to other countries, left Jesus behind at the temple, he was baptized in a river, stood up for your name in your house (the temple), and was even willing to undergo persecution and death for crimes that he NEVER committed.  God, thank you.  We also want to say a quick thank you for all the things that you give to us as well.  You give us so much that we don’t deserve. Please allow us to give you full credit for everything in your life.  God, we also want your help.  Help to remember as we pass through this season that you are the reason.  It’s not to give or get gifts, even though we enjoy that. It’s because you blessed us with the birth of your son.  God, we know that Jesus was probably not actually born on December 25th. But that’s not the point.  The point is that we are celebrating his birth!  Please help us to celebrate it with you.  Help us to give the gift that really matters, and no it can’t be bought with money. The gift we really want to share with the world is love.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve this community and these people.  God, we pray that you help us to grow this community to the size you need it to be. Whether that is 10 or 10 million people. Lord, thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

In your precious son’s name, we ask all these things.

Amen

A Little More

In high school I had a neighbor and buddy that you might know, you might not know him but I guarantee you knew someone like him.

He was crazy. I mean crazy.

He took risks that I couldn’t even begin to think about taking.

One day after school we were walking down the main street because that is what kids do just for fun.

And he said howdy to everyone. And tipped his hat.

I didn’t have the guts to begin to do anything like that. But for him, it was no problem.

After about his 120th “Howdy” I asked him why do you do that?

His response shocked me. “If you start the conversation with everyone, someone is going to bite, and then you’ll have one heck of a chat with a complete stranger.”

Those words changed my outlook forever.

The guy I’m talking about is Tyrell Zufelt.  We were blessed to be able to stop in and see him last winter when we were in his area.  He now has a beautiful family and is living his dream running a ranch in Idaho.

Here’s the thing after that day, I didn’t start right away.  It took me time to get the guts to start saying “hi” to everyone.

But he was 100% right.  When you start the conversation with everyone you meet there are going to be lots more opportunities to have a God-sent meaningful talk with someone.

I have met multiple authors by simply saying “Hi, How are you doing today?” or “Wow I love that dress” (don’t say that to the guy at the gym with HUGE muscles though:- it might get you in trouble)

The other thing that Tyrell taught me that day was the power of a warm smile. 

You see he didn’t just say “Howdy” you could literally feel his smile as he said it. And that makes a HUGE difference.

Your expression.

The first time you start this new habit you’re gonna think that man this guy is crazy.  I have said “Hi” to about 500 people and no one has even stopped to give me the time of day.

Try smiling as you say “Merry Christmas” this season.  I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at the reactions you get.

Our media and government have almost made the people scared to talk about God. 

I wasn’t in the room when the declaration of independence or the bill of rights was written and signed. But you can guarantee they talked about God.  Because the United States was founded on Christian principles, and they even included God in the first paragraphs of both documents. 

Don’t believe me, look at the original documents and read them for yourselves.

Just like the disciples and the first followers of Christ we can’t be scared to talk about God or Jesus.

“So I tell you that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton

Now get out there and share this devotional, share your God First Life message with the world. 

Have no fear.

Don’t mind the judgment that others pass on you because of your faith.

Be strong and know that when God is for you, NOTHING can be against you! Romans 8:31

Will you pray with us?

Mankind throughout the world throughout our current situation

All Law enforcement and emergency response personnel

For all military personal serving our country and their families

Those in Leadership positions throughout the world