One verse that I think a lot about is Romans 12:2. It says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Copying the behaviour and customs of this world can be putting your trust in money above God, working long hours and never seeing your family, valuing yourself by what you do or own, trusting in your own good works rather than Christ for salvation or a host of other things.
One thing I have been thinking about is the pattern or way many people celebrate Christmas. Christmas can be about running around to buy presents for everyone, driving hundreds of kilometres for a meal, rushing from one house to another to visit different sides of the family, or getting the table just right to impress everyone.
These are not necessarily bad if you enjoy these things, but if you don’t enjoy them and Christmas Day becomes a chore, then you may just be conforming to the behaviour and customs of Christmas. You may not be celebrating Christmas in the way God wants you to celebrate it as a family.
Several years ago we decided to jump off the Christmas Day expectations of everyone else. We chose to stay at home and celebrate a quiet Christmas. We opened some presents, went to church and had a quiet family meal together.
It felt like we redeemed Christmas. It felt like we were able to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of the Saviour of the world. We had a day that remembered Him.
As someone said to me recently, we travel a long way to sit with people we don’t see the rest of the year, we often fight and get really stressed out and we do what everyone else wants from us on the day. It is far from being about Christ.
With Christmas Day fast approaching I wonder if you will be focusing on Christ or something else on the 25th? Will you be copying the behaviour and patterns of the world or celebrating the brith of the Christ child some 2000 years ago?