“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. “
I was recently asked by a friend how I celebrated Christmas. The intent of the question was to get ideas on how to celebrate with less emphasis on presents and Santa and more on Jesus.
My immediate answer included practical advice like reading the story of Christ’s birth on Christmas Eve and attending church sponsored events with the family throughout the season. The truth is, I really hadn’t given it much thought in a long while.
Several days passed and I could not stop thinking about my friend’s question. What is the best way to actually celebrate JESUS throughout the holiday season?
A quick word study reveals two interesting definitions of the word CELEBRATE: 1. publicly acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity 2. honor or praise publicly
The more I meditated on it God revealed to me the best way to publicly honor and praise Jesus is to display the gracious dispositions and habits which the Spirit produces in those in whom He dwells and works. Known by us as the Fruit of the Spirit.
Take a peak at Galatians 5:22-23 with me and let’s see how we can walk this out in everyday life….
- Offer to gift shop for an elderly friend or family member.*
- Serve a meal at a local soup kitchen.*
- Hold a birthday party for Jesus-complete with balloons, cake, and prizes-and invite children from your neighborhood.*
- Anonymously send a CD of upbeat Christmas music to someone who you suspect is feeling down.
- Genuinely seek forgiveness from those you know you have offended.
- HOLD YOUR TONGUE! Even in the presence of the in-laws.
- Allow the person behind you in the checkout line to “skip.”
- Be patient with someone who’s bereaved during the holidays. They may not want to participate as they usually do.*
- Collect items such as socks, neck pillows, lap blankets, and stuffed animals to deliver to a local hospice for distribution to patients and caregivers.
- Thank the store manager the next time you hear Christmas music while shopping.*
- Give blood at a local blood bank.*
- Let others know how good God is by sharing your testimony.
- Ask friends and family members how you can pray for them.
- Prayer walk through your neighborhood and around your child’s school and sports fields.*
- Sit with someone who’s hurting. Hold their hand if it’s comfortable for them and for you.*
- Be present with someone who’s hurting. Don’t be afraid of tears or silence.*
- Refrain from trying to impress others with expensive gifts. Stay within your budget.
- I think this one is worth repeating….HOLD YOUR TONGUE!
No matter the exact traditions and activities we participate in, the most important thing is that we reflect on and exhibit the true character of Christ. In doing that, we will consistently honor God and CELEBRATE JESUS!
- Ideas used by permission from 25 Christmas Blessings: An Inspiring Countdown to Christmas! by Dena Dyer. You can find out more and order copies at DenaDyer.com