The holidays are here and with it comes the chill in the air, colorful lights, festive music, delicious treats, and the warmth of gatherings with family and friends. As it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of parties, shopping, decorating and baking, it’s important we remember the true meaning of Christmas – celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There is true JOY when it comes to Christmas. We feel that joy at the very first Christmas. In Luke 2:10-11, the angel proclaimed the good news of “great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Just imagine the awe and wonder of the shepherds as the skies lit up in glorious splendor to announce the humble arrival of the promised Messiah. As the shepherds visited the scene at the manger in Luke 2:17, 20, they “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” and returned “glorifying and praising God.”
There can be true JOY today, as well. In fact, we can make sharing this great news and praising God central to our Christmas celebrations. Take time to read the Christmas story as a family from the Gospel of Luke. Sing or listen to classic Christmas hymns and carols like “Joy to the World” together. Incorporate praising God into family meals and Christmas festivities. Display nativity sets prominently in your home as visual reminders to give glory to God during the Christmas season.
In fact, here are 4 Online Bible Studies and Groups you can be part of this year that will help you put your focus and attention on the JOY of Christmas.
- Text Group. Simply text the word “Christmas” to 703-454-5990 for a daily text that includes scripture reading and devotional as we walk through the Christmas story.
- ReThink Christmas Study. This is a YouVersion Bible Study Group that helps us rethink and retrain our minds about what the JOY of Christmas is all about. Be part of it by clicking here.
- The Magic of Christmas Study. This is another YouVersion Bible Study Group that focuses on the Christmas story. Click here to be part of it.
- The Countdown to Christmas Facebook Group. Share in the JOY of Christmas by sharing recipes, decorations, movies, music and family craft ideas while we walk through the Christmas story each day. It’s great to be part of and invite a friend who loves Christmas, too. Be part of the Group here.
As Matthew 1:23 says, the very name Emmanuel means “God with us.” It reminds us of the incredible gift of Jesus coming down to dwell among us. Such an undeserved and generous gift is definitely worth celebrating joyfully! In the busyness of the season, schedule moments of solitude – take a prayerful walk outdoors, spend quiet time journaling or meditating on the Christmas story. Soak in the wonder of God’s divine love evidenced by His Word becoming flesh.
This Christmas, share the love of Christ with others through random acts of kindness. Pack meals for struggling families, donate to meet needs in your community, surprise neighbors with baked goods, visit the sick or lonely. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). We can emulate such selfless giving by serving others with compassion this Christmas. If you are looking for service opportunities over the holiday season, click here.
The excitement of Christmas morning reminds us of the eternal promise and hope we have because of Christmas. Remember in Luke 2:11 the angel says, “today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” This Christmas, may the true meaning of the season fill you with JOY and peace as you celebrate Jesus – Emmanuel, God is with us!