Summary: Tips to keep the holidays from becoming a drag!
Hints for a Hassle-free Holiday
Well, here we are. The advent season is on us, and it’ll be Christmas before we know it.
You wouldn’t know it by the weather, but it’s true nonetheless.
And while for some people, the Christmas season brings joy and happiness, for others it brings headaches and hassles.
And for some others, it brings heartache with the remembrance of loved ones who have passed away.
I wish I had the cure for all that heartache, but I don’t.
However, I would like to offer a few suggestions to make the holidays a little more bearable, and maybe even downright enjoyable for those of you who aren’t especially fond of Christmas time.
This morning I want to give you three things to aid you in having a hassle-free holiday. My purpose is to shine a little perspective into our preparation and celebration, so that we can go into the season with the right focus.
And the first thing I want to suggest is that we..
I. Gain the right focus.
The world would like us to focus on any number of things during this time of year. Spending, gifts, charity, and all sorts of stuff.
But the right focus is not the heart-warming episodes of once-a-year selflessness, or other things the world refers to as “the spirit of Christmas.”
The right focus is GRACE. God’s riches at Christ’s expense.
Please turn with me to Romans chapter 5, verse 8. If you are using the Bibles in the seats, this can be found on page 798.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
You see, folks, if it weren’t for the fact that God intervened in the affairs of men, we would be doomed in light of the present, and hopeless in light of eternity.
But God has acted, and we can celebrate not only the birth of the Savior, but everything that birth brings later, including His horrible death and glorious resurrection.
So how do we gain the right focus? I’d like to suggest three ways:
A. Remember – how you were saved and
how Christ has changed your life.
Keep in mind that Jesus had you in mind when He was hanging on that cross, and you’ll be a lot less likely to look down on someone else.
And keep it in mind when you’re fighting the lines at the shopping centers.
That person who cut in front of you or grabbed the sweater you were going for is a person Jesus died for, just like you.
So remember. Next…
B. Renew – your love for Him.
Express your desire to walk more closely and drink of His many blessings. Think on the things that drew you to Him in the first place, and let His Holy Spirit fill you with a renewed sense of love and joy in Him.
Make the determination that you will spend more time with Him in the Word and prayer.
C. Recommit – to serving the One who
gave Himself for you.
I’m convinced, because of how it’s happened in my own life, that if you make the effort to remember what Christ has done for you and renew your love for Him, you can’t help but give your life back to Him in service, no matter what your station in life.
Invite Him to use you in whatever situation you find yourself, and then let Him do it.
He might surprise you, not only in how He uses you, but in the results of that service.
Gain the right focus of the season by remembering, renewing, and recommitting.
Then when you have gained the right focus, you need to diligently…
II. Guard the right focus.
In the rush of getting everything ready for Christmas, the real reason for Christmas sometimes gets pushed aside.
And I think we can learn a lesson from Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Please turn now with me to Luke 2:19, which is on page 725 of the Bibles in the seats.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
I want to emphasize the word, “pondered.” Pondering goes beyond the idea of just giving something a little thought.
It goes beyond a simple, “Wow, that’s nice.”
It takes these things to heart, allowing God to shape us and mold us in our reflections of what God is doing.
I would guess that as Mary sat there listening to the shepherds tell their incredible story of the angelic visit in the fields, she couldn’t help but think back to her own experience with an angel.
And she probably thought of the words of the angel Gabriel:
"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."