Kristan and HarryChristmas is by far the most celebrated and commercialised time of the year.

I remember seeing the tinsel and the baubles and the lights being advertised for sale back in October!

This year, I’ve had to rethink Christmas and what it means to me personally and what it means to Kylie and I as a couple.

This year I’ve thought about what it means to enjoy Christmas.

I heard recently that people are told that they are supposed to be more joyful at this time of year and as a result we end up with more people depressed!

Kyls starts planning the Christmas presents months in advance yet we left the Christmas cards til the last minute!

The world starts advertising the kids toy sales back in July…

10 % this week

20% next week

Layby now until Christmas!

We begin to think about the gifts that we’re going to give, the credit cards that we’ll have to pay off and the different Crisco packs or Hamper King Hampers that we could have had if we’d been more organised.

We start hearing Christmas carols in November and by the first week of December the sales assistants are fed up with hearing them!

We see Santa all around us and the children are convinced that this fat old man is coming down the chimney that we don’t even have to leave presents under the tree.

We receive funny emails about reindeer and sleighs.

We start to think about the people that we should send card to and wonder if they’ve moved since last year.

We see images of a baby in a manger and angels and wise men standing around adoring Him.

We get catalogues with hundreds of different types and colours of Christmas trees and lights and decorations.

We see shops using various slogans and changing the meaning from Merry Christmas to Merry Chipmas.

We see companies advertising items like cars as being great Christmas gifts.

We see television programs that mock the birth of our Saviour and others that turn it into a rock concert type celebration about jolly Santa!

Church, this morning I want to give you a few thoughts about how to really and truly enjoy Christmas.

Firstly, we need to remember the reason for the season, as the phrase goes.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born at Christmas for our salvation.

It’s easy to forget that Jesus was more than just a baby, especially since that’s how the world continues to present Him.

Have you ever thought about the fact that when most people celebrate someone’s birthday, they don’t given them a card that shows when they were born and they don’t generally talk about their birth.

When we celebrate someone’s birthday, we celebrate them!

We remember things about them and their life.

The same should be true for Jesus.

It should be more than just remembering that He was born.

We need to remember that He left the most incredible and magnificent place ever created and such that man had never even seen, to become like us and to be with us here on earth in order to be able to bring us to where He had come from.

I don’t know about you, but every day I realise just how much more I need Him.

I’ve got such a craving for God’s presence…

We don’t need to go to a special meeting to find him.

We don’t have to run after a prophet or healing evangelist!

Jesus is here!

He’s in the pages of my bible.

He’s in me!

He’s all around me!

He is awesome.

When we acknowledge Him, when we speak out His name, He is magnified and given what is rightfully His – all honour and glory!

So beautiful!

Jesus! Jesus! I love you Jesus!

Christmas is about Jesus and about us remembering Him and keeping Him as the central focus of this season.

Everything else needs to take second place.

The food is important.

The gifts are important.

The carols are important.

The trees and decorations are important.

Kids are important.

But, they are not the main thing!

We have to keep the main thing the main thing…

Jesus is the reason for the season!!!

IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING!

If we have Jesus in the first place, everything else is easily able to follow and be enjoyed.

Secondly, make the Christmas season a time of joy by being patient and kind.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness….

At Christmas, and especially on Christmas day, people can tend to forget that it’s important to stop and appreciate the moment.

The dishes can wait.

The table can be set in a few minutes.

It doesn’t matter if the paper is making the room look messy.

It’s wonderful that the kids are screaming with joy and happiness at the gifts that you’ve given them.

It really doesn’t matter if the peas are cold and the gravy is lumpy.

Remember, a little bit of patience goes a long way.

Don’t allow little things to become big problems or issues that have the potential to change your mood.

Allow yourself the freedom to stop, relax, and breathe today.

If things don’t happen the way they should, take a deep breath and keep going.

If a plate gets broken, be grateful that you had the plate in the first place.

Thirdly, give the gift of time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Make a point of doing things that you all enjoy and do things that others enjoy.

Learn the art of compromise this Christmas.

If the kids want to go swimming at midnight because it’s hot, maybe indulge them.

Remember, you are creating their memories that they will hold for the rest of their lives!

Watch the Boxing Day Test with your husband – without whinging!

Maybe even bring him lunch while he’s watching it!

Make your wife a cup of tea or coffee and bring her a flower.

Start the dishes for her.

Whatever you can do for someone else in your family, make a point to do something purposefully to show them that you love them and that they are important to you.

Compliment each other and use your words to show care, love and respect.

Honour one another above yourselves, the Bible says.

Take time to allow things to happen.

Think back on other years – the days still roll on and everything eventually gets done.

You have the choice, this year, to make things memorable and worth remembering in days and years to come.

Make Christmas a time when words are special and important.

Make Christmas a time when you change the direction of your family – make a conscious choice to be an encourager all the time, not just at Christmas.

Fourthly, be thankful.

Remember to be grateful for the smallest and the largest of gifts, gestures and thoughts.

Look past the price tags and instead, look at the heart.

Be thankful that we can celebrate today.

Be thankful that you have gifts to be able to give.

Be thankful that you have gifts to receive.

Be thankful that you can celebrate in freedom.

Be thankful that you have family and friends near you with whom you can celebrate.

Be thankful that you know the Saviour and the King of Christmas.

Make a list, by yourself, or with your family for all the things that you can be thankful for this Christmas.

Maybe make it a list of things that you can be thankful for from throughout the whole year.

Be thankful that the greatest gift ever given cost more than any of us could have ever afforded.

We received the gift of eternal life, redemption from our sins and the ability to be reunited in full relationship with our Father God.

Lastly, stay in touch with loved ones.

Make that phone call that you’ve been putting off.

Forgive that person that you’ve been upset with.

Be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Use this time to reflect on the incredible gift that Jesus gave us and give it to others – the gift of forgiveness and grace.

The gift of mercy and love.

Think about the legacy that you are leaving for your family and yourself…is it a legacy to be proud of and to be remembered for?

I want to leave a legacy for my children.

I want my children to see in me the qualities that I see in Jesus.

I want them to know that I celebrate Christmas because of the significance of Jesus and His impact in my life.

This Christmas, remember it’s a time to enjoy.

Enjoy your family.

Enjoy your friends.

Enjoy giving gifts.

Enjoy receiving gifts.

Enjoy celebrating.

Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and because of Him we can enjoy this time of the year because we can know the Christ of Christmas.

PRAYER:

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let our hearts be tender and our hands work for the peace of all.  May we honour him by loving one another as God so loved the world He gave His beloved Son.  May we receive all the gifts that the season has to offer with open hands and grateful hearts.  And may we cherish the beauty of this season, treasuring the moments and creating memories that will bless us for the rest of our lives.  Amen

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