BEFORE YOU GET BUSY PSALM 100:3
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
We belong to God. Since we belong to him everything we do and everything we say ought to bring him praise.
The holidays can be a time to honor God, love your family and keep your sanity.
You have to choose worship over mayhem, Christ over perfection of plans, and the Bible over nostalgia. So before you get busy….
ONE: BEFORE THANKSGIVING…
Take some time every day to read your Bible.
Do not let your Thanksgiving preparation get in the way of spending time in God’s Word. There are a ton of scriptures about being thankful and giving God praise.
Jeremiah 30:19, Nehemiah 12:46-47, Psalm 9:1, Psalm 107:8-9, Psalm 100, Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 9:11, Psalm 95:2-3, 2 Corinthians 4:15-16, 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 , Ephesians 1:15-16
Read the history of the holiday. Research it and you will find a few facts that may bless you and/or surprise you.
The Mayflower did land in Nov 1620 but it was because the weather was bad and they feared sailing further south.
Many people lived on the ship for over 3 months.
In 1676 the village of Charlestown Mass made a “Thanksgiving Declaration” naming June 29 as the first official thanksgiving day in the colonies.
The day we have now in November marks the arrival of the pilgrims. Their celebration of the harvest is a tradition they brought with them from England.
Be sure not to run over the meaning of the holiday in an attempt to make the holiday. It truly is a time to give thanks to God for all his blessings.
Make a list : what are you thankful for?
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Thanksgiving can be worshipful if we make it that way.
TWO: BEFORE CHRISTMAS…
Take some time every day to read your Bible.
Do not let your Christmas preparation get in the way of spending time in God’s Word.
Matthew 1-2, Luke 2, Galatians 4:4-5 , 1 Timothy 1:15-17, Isaiah 9:6-7, Titus 3:3-7 Micah 5:2, Zechariah 9:9, Isaiah 40, Isaiah 7
Make sure you know that most of what we do at Christmas is fiction based on history.
Do you know that early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter?
Many people rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them.
In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January.
Do you know that the legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas?
It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick.
St. Nicholas made his first inroads into American popular culture towards the end of the 18th century.
In 1841, thousands of children visited a Philadelphia shop to see a life-size Santa Claus model. It was only a matter of time before stores began to attract children.
By 1881, political cartoonist Thomas Nast created the first likeness that matches our modern image of Santa Claus. Similar figures were popular all over the world.
Knowing these things will help you to separate Biblical fact from cultural traditions. And it will help you turn traditions into Christ honoring worship.
Many people have a birthday party for Jesus and they do not do Santa Claus at all. They read scripture and teach their kids that the gift exchange is symbolic of the gifts brought to Christ
Set your limits: how will you celebrate?
Will it honor Christ?
Determine what you will value. There is nothing even remotely Christ honoring by you going into debt.
Determine the example you will set.
Are you going to teach your children the meaning of the season or leave it to culture to do that?
If Christmas is truly going to be Christ’s Mass, a season and a celebration of the Savior and his birth then it starts early in the season and it stays focused on the Lord.
We can control Christmas. It does not have to control us.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
It really is all about Jesus.
THREE: BEFORE THE NEW YEAR…
Count your blessings. If the end of one year and the beginning of another ought to do anything for us it is make us count just how blessed we are.
Thank God for them all. The Lord gave us 365 days and a few hours that most take for granted. The majority of the year is referred to as ordinary time.
Determine spiritual resolutions.
Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.
Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
Will you honor God or chase around trying to make yourself and a dozen other people happy?
Will you take a deep breath and slow down or will you get caught up in the frenzy?
Decide now to honor Christ over this holiday season.