Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. It’s a time to gather with family, but more importantly it’s (hopefully) a time when we turn our focus wholly upon the Lord.
As wonderful as Christmas is, sometimes I feel like we’re missing the point. Christmas reminds of the conferences I go to with my church. When I’m at the conference, I feel fully devoted to God, on fire for Him. It’s an amazing experience, and one I look forward to every year. But when I get home, how long does that feeling continue? Do I still feel on fire the next week? What about the next day? Conferences are awesome and inspiring, but how often do we carry that inspiration home with us?
I think that Christmas is very similar. We get pumped up for Christmas day, it gets here, and then it’s gone. Hopefully, on December 25th, we spend some time focused on God. Most of us probably spend more time than usual praying and/or reading or Bibles, which is great! But what about December 26th? Or 27th? To be honest, only two days later, Christmas already feels like it was ages ago.
So, is this the way it works? Do we designate one day out of the year (not counting, perhaps, Easter and conferences) to be “extra Christian”? It’s a sad truth that this is often how it works for many Christians, myself included.
How can we change this? I believe that part of the problem is how much we rely on our feelings. At a conference, we feel good. I’m not saying that conferences are (all) made up of fluffy, feel-good teaching. I’ve been very convicted and moved at conferences. The question is, just how deep does that go? I may feel convicted during the teaching when the lights are dim and tearful people are going to the front. And yet, how convicted am I when I get home?
And on Christmas day, good feelings abound. Our Savior came to us on a silent night to give us life. That’s a wonderful thing, and don’t get me wrong–that should make us feel good. But if we only base our response to how amazing that is on our feelings, then once Christmas is over, we’ll push that wonderful truth to the back of our minds and move on with our lives.
Feelings are not bad–but how do we move beyond that? Next time you experience these feelings, don’t just stop there. If you feel convicted, pray. Talk to God about why you are convicted and ask Him what things you need to change in your life. Read your Bible and see what He has to say. Finally, make an effort to follow through, and God will bless that effort! Turn your feelings into actions, and they will take root in your heart. Also, if you’re just feeling happy and blessed, praise God for it! God wants us to spend time with Him, and talking to Him about our feelings is one way to do that. For the beneficial feelings, spending time with God helps them to take root and become something deeper. For detrimental feelings, God-time keeps us from being controlled by them because we are focused on Someone so much greater.
How did you feel on Christmas? Did you feel connected to God? Talk to Him about it, and ask Him how you can grow closer. Did you feel His love? Give thanks and show Him your love for Him through your actions.
In closing, let us look at the example of the shepherds.
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. (Luke 2:20, NLT)
When we return from our time with Jesus to our everyday lives, let us not forget all God has done for us. Let us glorify and praise Him for the gift of His Son, for His every blessing, and for His incredible love for us. Praise God!
Note: Even though Christmas is over, we can still celebrate Jesus’ birth everyday! This is one of my favorite Christmas songs; enjoy!