With just a few days left till Christmas Day, are you in a mad rush to get all the items on your to-do list ticked off? If that’s you, you’re not alone.
The holiday rush is real. Gifts for family and loved ones, gatherings with every friend group in town, that Secret Santa gift you’ve to get for a colleague you barely know, sandwiches to make for your child’s class party, mandatory family dinners, settling things at work, the list goes on.
Then there are the Christmas programmes at church, serving on the worship team, hosting newcomers, teaching at Sunday School, performing on stage or singing carols.
All of the above are indeed reflective of God’s love. Through our efforts and energy, people are blessed and prayerfully even drawn closer to Jesus. But amid the hustle and bustle of this season, as we wrap, exchange and pass gifts around, have we made any time for the Giver?
If reading this, you realise you haven’t spent much or any time with Jesus this past week, or even this whole month, perhaps it’s time to take a step back to pause and reflect.
Here are three ways to carve out time for the Giver of every good thing in our lives once again.
1. Start your day in conversation with Him
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.Psalm 145:18
When you open your eyes in the morning, don’t grab your phone. Lay in bed for a few seconds more, and start praying.
The simplest, no-brainer way to get into a posture of prayer is to praise Him. Exalt His greatness and faithfulness, and thank Him for all He has done in your life. Thank Him for giving you breath, and that you get to live one more day.
Once you’ve started praying, you’ll find that you can continue praying as you get up to start the day. In the shower, brushing your teeth, preparing breakfast, all of these can be moments of conversation with the Lord.
After you’ve warmed up, it gets easier to pray for other areas, whether it’s personal concerns, the needs of others or salvation for loved ones. And the more you do it, the more aware you’ll become of His presence in your life.
2. Take a deep dive into the Christmas story
We may take for granted the story of the birth of Jesus because we have heard it umpteen times or watched performances and skits reenacting the scenes every year. However, God’s word is alive and personal and God desires to speak to you through His written word. You only need to make time to dig in.
There are new revelations to be found in the Christmas story. Turn to Matthew 1-2 or Luke 1-2 and the Christmas story for yourself. Study the different characters; Mary, Joseph, the innkeeper, the shepherds, and the wise men and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you a thing or two.
To gain a deeper understanding of the redemption story, read some of the prophecies foretelling the coming of Jesus in the Old Testament.
Christmas is truly a celebration of love, hope and joy shared with family and friends – but above all, the most significant message of Christmas is ‘Emmanuel’, God with us. He dwells among us and desires a personal relationship with you. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this season, give God the opportunity to reveal Himself to you in a powerful, meaningful and life-transforming way.
3. Make the choice to slow down
“So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”Seneca
If you’ve tried many ways to make space for Jesus, but keep circling back to, “I just don’t have enough time,” perhaps it’s time to make a hard choice.
Is Jesus worth everything to you? Is spending time with Him, and Him spending time with you, important enough for you to do whatever it takes to make it happen? God is always available. It is only our schedule that we need to adjust.
If you’re running on an empty tank this season and working out of your own strength, you will find that there is never enough time. But if you make the choice to set other things aside and make room for Jesus Christ, you will find strength and joy for each day.
This may mean declining a dinner invitation or striking out several names on your Christmas shopping list this year. There are other ways to be a blessing, and gifts come in all forms. This year, perhaps it’s a genuine prayer to offer, or a 15-minute uninterrupted phone call to have meaningful conversations.
God will grant you the creativity and wisdom to bless those around you in ways that matter because He is the Ultimate Giver and knows what every person needs.
This Christmas, let’s not forget Jesus
As Christians, Christmas is much more than gifts, gatherings and good food. Its tenets of love, joy and peace are widely celebrated by all, but the true meaning of the season is precious to us.
Christmas is about Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. The Sovereign God who came down to earth in human form, embracing suffering, helplessness and the weight of sin.
He died on our behalf, showing us love in its purest form and setting the benchmark with the greatest gift of all: freedom from death, and life with Him for eternity.
That is the gift we have in our hearts today, all because of Jesus Christ. So this season, let’s make time for the Giver once again.