With all of the excitements and festivities of the Christmas season, it’s sometimes difficult to remain focused on Christ. These things—colorful lights, cookies, presents, parties, etc.—can be fun and meaningful, but Christ is the very reason we have Christmas, so I want to stay focused on Him.
I believe it is possible for us to enjoy the many delights of the Christmas season while keeping focused on Jesus. Here are some simple ways we can do this.
How to remain focused on Christ during Christmas
- Engage in Advent traditions. Advent, a period of reflection that prepares followers to celebrate Christ’s birth, begins four Sundays before Christmas. By engaging in Advent traditions, we have periodic reminders (daily or weekly, depending on the tradition) of the real reason we celebrate. My personal favorite is the Jesse Tree, which is a series of Bible readings accompanied by symbolic ornaments that help families reflect on the people, prophesies, and events that preceded Jesus’ birth. The Jesse Tree is just one option, though. Click here to read about various ways to celebrate Advent.
- Invite to your Christmas dinner guests who don’t have family. There are folks all around us who will spend Christmas alone. They may be college students who can’t make it home, older adults whose kids live far away, or others who are estranged from their families for various reasons. We show hospitality to these individuals by inviting them into our Christmas celebrations.
- Listen to Christ-focused Christmas songs. There’s nothing wrong with a rousing rendition of “Jingle Bells” or an emotional crooning of “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” However, we can get our thoughts on the birth of Jesus by making sure we listen to Christmas songs that speak of the birth of Jesus. From traditional favorites like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” to modern options like “Hope Was Born This Night” and “Welcome to Our World,” each of us can find songs to enjoy.
- Go Christmas caroling. After we’ve been inspired by Christ-focused Christmas songs, we can share these with others. We can gather with family members or friends and go Christmas caroling! The most common way to do this is to go door-to-door in neighborhoods, but we can also do it at shopping malls, nursing homes, hospitals, etc.
- Display your nativity in a prominent location. When many of us think of Christmas decorations, the first things we think of are trees, lights, tinsel, and stockings. What if our first thoughts were of nativities instead? We can place our nativities in prominent locations so we see them often (we place ours on the mantle, which is the focal point of the living room). This will help us remember that the true significance of Christmas isn’t in the gifts under the tree, but in The Gift in the manger. We can even get kid-friendly nativities so our kids can help set them up and can use them to act out the story of Christ’s birth.
- Serve together as a family. Opportunities to serve one other abound during the Christmas season. We can get our families involved in these opportunities so we remember that Christmas is about giving. One of my favorite ways to serve as a family is to take part in the Angel Tree program (which provides gifts for children who have incarcerated parents). A similar opportunity is to partner with local groups who support foster families by helping these families provide gifts for the children in their care. We can also serve at homeless shelters, take handmade cards to nursing homes, purchase canned goods for the local food bank, etc.
- Attend special Christmas services at your church. Most of our churches offer special services around Christmas. We can attend these in order to take part in communal celebrations of Jesus’ birth. We can even attend special events, such as live nativity scenes or cantatas, at churches that we don’t attend regularly.
- Read books and watch movies about the true meaning of Christmas. Is watching It’s a Wonderful Life or reading The Polar Express a treasured part of your Christmas celebration? What about reading books or watching movies about Jesus? There are so many great ones out there. We can cozy up with hot chocolate and cookies as we bond with our families and remember Christmas’ true meaning.
- Get to know your neighbors by delivering Christmas goodies to them. Most of us bake cookies and make other goodies around Christmas. Why not package these up and deliver some to our neighbors, taking time to visit with them as we deliver the treats? This is a great first step in getting to know our neighbors and their needs so we can serve them.
We’ve engaged in all of these activities at some point or another during the last couple of years. We do some of them, including the Jesse Tree and taking goodies to our neighbors, every year. I love how these help us focus on celebrating Jesus’ birth.
What things do you do to remain focused on Christ throughout the Christmas season?
Shared at the following: