This time of year, most of us are engaged in many different family traditions, Christmas activities, and we are busy trying to check off our lists. Our family watches Hallmark Christmas movies every year, and this year, I think we have seen almost all of them thanks to our two week COVID quarantine. I know the plots are very similar, and the ending is always a happily ever after, but the movies are clean and enjoyable. One thing that Hallmark has worked the plot around in quite a few movies is a Christmas Bucket List. It is a list of activities that must be completed before Christmas. I think it is a fun idea, and I’m definitely not opposed to it, but I’d like to offer a twist to the normal list.
- Buy presents. Oh, yea, that one is always on our to do Christmas list. It’s definitely nice to buy and give presents, but instead of merely buying presents this year, how about we BE PRESENT. Being present for our friends and family is so much more important that giving a gift that they may store away and soon forget. “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24) Let us spend time together, play together, and pray together this Christmas season while motivating one another to love and good works. Time spent with family and friends is a very precious gift, and it is one that we too often take for granted until it’s too late. BE PRESENT this year for Christmas.
- Wrap gifts. I actually have all of my gifts already wrapped and under the tree this year, but what if instead of focusing on wrapping those gifts, we wrapped our arms around those we love with a great big hug. I’d tell you to go hug a stranger too, but with COVID, we better just give some air hugs for now. We need to show the love of Christ this Christmas season and every season. It’s not an option. It’s a command. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34) WRAP SOMEONE IN A HUG this Christmas and show them the love of Christ!
- Send gifts. Okay, Peeps, after you buy the gifts and wrap the gifts, the next logical thing is to send the gifts. Everyone loves receiving gifts, but do you want to know something that everyone is craving? Everyone craves love. How about instead of focusing our time and energy on sending the perfect gift, we spend this season striving to SEND LOVE! Be genuine just as Romans 12:40 tells us, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” There is no better time of the year to show your love for others and your love for Christ than right now. This world is so dark and full of sadness and disdain. This world needs the love of Christ, and you have that love within you. Don’t keep it all to yourself. SEND LOVE out into the world today!
- Shop for food. Some people may not think this is fun, but my husband and I love to go shopping for food in a large supermarket. We actually have so much fun doing this. However, we have found something even more fulfilling than shopping for food and that is donating food. Whenever you try to bless someone with a gift of food, time, love, money, or what have you, by giving that blessing to others, you also will be blessed. Recall the words of Isaiah 58:10. “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” DONATE FOOD this Christmas season. Help those in need. I promise you won’t regret this. You will be the one receiving the gift, and I bet that you get as much joy out of the donation as the person receiving the gift!
- Make cookies. Every single Hallmark Christmas movie has people making and decorating cookies. They do a fine job too. Actually, they are so pretty that they look like they are store bought. Making cookies is a fun way to enjoy time with friends and family, and this leads to MAKING MEMORIES. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” We should gather together in Christian fellowship and in worship, and encourage one another, build strong bonds and friendships, and make good memories together! MAKE MEMORIES this Christmas! Memories don’t cost a thing, but they are priceless!
- See the lights. This is a family tradition for us for sure. We love to go out and admire the pretty light displays and drink hot cocoa. It is always a fun time. I think everyone should go out and enjoy the Christmas lights because the lights remind us that light overcomes darkness. So finally, I ask you to BE THE LIGHT. You can probably guess the verse for this one. “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16) It is a cold, dark world out there my friends, and it is up to the children of God to get out there and shine the light of Christ into the dark. BE THE LIGHT this Christmas. Let the light of Christ shine through you and let it be brighter than all of the Christmas lights in town! BE THE LIGHT!
I pray that you all have a safe and healthy Christmas season. Let’s shake things up a bit and check off a new Christmas Bucket List as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior!