It’s Christmas time!
Eggnog and mistletoe. Gifts and chestnuts. And busyness galore.
But we know that it’s not all fun and games this time of year. For lots of people, the holidays are times of sadness. The absence of loved ones, financial and family issues and the general blues that come with this time of year make Christmas a time when they want to go and hide.
For too many of us, the holiday season is one long reaction to the seemingly endless string of obligations. We brace ourselves a bit before Thanksgiving and hope to hang on until after New Year’s Day. Then we try to recover and embrace a new year, teeth gritted, hoping for something better.But what if I told you that you are not supposed to just react to everything this holiday season? What if I told you that you can be proactive?
Think about Christmas itself. People celebrate Christmas because the Bible explains that God did the most proactive thing ever when he sent His Son, Jesus, into the world on a rescue mission.
No one asking for it. It was business as usual. The world was full of conflict and not exactly looking for God to fix it. But God, in His amazing and extraordinary grace, proactively and preemptively loved our broken and busted-up world.
The essence of Christmas is proactive love.
So I want to share how to bring that same proactive love into your life that Jesus brought at Christmas. Because the world needs it now more than ever.
Choose to Give
We give gifts at Christmas to commemorate God’s greatest gift, the gift of Jesus. But we don’t practice gift-giving the way God does. We give gifts to our loved ones and friends. But God gives gifts to people who don’t return his love. The celebration of Christmas is about Jesus’ birth, but he was ultimately violently killed on a cross. But, God freely gave his Son anyway.
Jesus said that we are “more blessed to give than to receive.” So how can we find ways to give to those who are not on our Christmas list?
Be proactive in seizing opportunities to be a blessing to someone in need. And I also encourage you to find ways to give that are hands-on. All too often, giving to people in need happens from a distance. We never see the gifts that are received. Of course, partnering with organizations helps us give in a way that is most beneficial those who are in need, and we also need to be safe and wise in helping others. But I guarantee you will find helping another person, especially someone who offers you nothing in return, will bring you a fresh sense of God’s joy.
Remember to Pray
Prayer is a very personal thing. That’s why it’s even more important to be proactive in prayer during the busy season in our life. We are all too busy not to pray!
In my new book, “Upward, Inward, Outward: Love God, Love yourself, Love others,” I explain how prayer actually satisfies our need for intimacy with God. Intimacy is essential for us to flourish as human beings – it is our deepest interpersonal connections we can experience. In all our other relationships, we communicate and talk to develop intimacy. But in our relationship with God, we pray.
Prayer is a special and designated word we use for the cultivation of our relationship with God the Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Yeah, it’s that big of a deal. So we need to be proactive and set aside time for prayer. And the busier it gets, the more important it is. Deepen your most essential relationship this Christmas: your relationship with God.
Labor to Love
Christmas is about the love of God for humanity. His love wasn’t just an emotion; it was displayed in concrete action. Jesus’ birth, life, death and ultimate resurrection show us love in living color. It’s an example for all of us, God telling each of us to labor in love. What would the world look like if God’s people demonstrated the love he has shown us, in tangible actions that everyone could see? Whether it’s a kind word that deflects someone’s anger, a gentle smile or apology, or even greater acts of love, we can choose to be vehicles of pure love in the world.
In any setting, if you asked the simple question, “How many of you think that the world needs more love today?” almost everyone would answer with a resounding “Yes!” So as we have opportunity this Christmas, let us, like Jesus, celebrate the season by being proactive and initiating a love revolution.
Daniel Fusco, is the Lead Pastor of Crossroads Community Church, a featured contributor to “Preaching Today,” and I have published articles with Leadership Journal, pastors.com, and Calvarychapel.com. I have written three books, Ahead of the Curve, (self-published), Honestly, Getting Real About Jesus and our Messy Lives, and Upward, Inward, and Outward, Love God, Love Yourself, Love Others (both published by NavPress). All books are available at Amazon.com.