On the way down to Sarasota to see our two granddaughters, and, oh yeah, our daughter and son-in-law, we popped in some Christmas CDs. It was Nov. 9. My wife loves listening to Christmas music. I love listening to Christmas music, too … but usually after Thanksgiving!
There’s something premature to me about having Christmas set up in the stores before Halloween. We got to Rachel’s house, and she had Christmas music going on the Comcast music channel. When we were riding in the car, the stereo was set to 92.1 The Coast, which had already begun playing Christmas music fulltime … in the second week of November.
Later in the week, we took the girls to the mall to see the Winter Palace. It was 88 degrees outside, and in the middle of the mall was this enclosure with Winter scenes, and inside, fake snow was falling. I don’t know what the stuff was, but it didn’t melt, and it looked more like dandruff than snowflakes. The girls laid down and made snow angels, wearing shorts and a T-shirt and sandals. Then they made a quick visit to Santa. You’d think Santa would be overseeing his workshop at this point.
Thanksgiving and Christmas have become a blur, and now that we’ve carved the turkey, we’re rolling towards Dec. 25 with a fury.
How do we prepare to have our best Christmas ever? Evangelist Dennis Nunn addressed that question in a recent Sunday morning message at McDonough Road Baptist Church (see www.everybelieverawitness.org for more information about Dennis’ ministry).
He had three good points. First, to have the best Christmas ever, turn holidays into holy days.
“Man did not come up with the idea of holidays, and the Bible never commands us to celebrate Christmas,” Nunn said.
Referring to a list of feasts God commanded the Israelites to observe in Leviticus 23, Nunn pointed out that setting aside a regular time to celebrate something and to take time away from work temporarily was God’s idea.
Levitucus 23:4 reads, “These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.”
“When it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, we don’t want to make it to be what the world says it’s about, but what God says it’s about. It’s about Jesus. It’s not about secular thanks, but spiritual thanks.
“It’s so easy to allow the world to squeeze us into its mold, but we need to keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus.”
Second, to have the best Christmas ever, don’t go into debt. Overspending for gifts and going into debt is the world’s way to do Christmas, he said, and it’s so easy to pile up debt.
“The only reason people don’t own an elephant is it hasn’t been offered no money down, interest free for eight years. If you can’t pay for it, then don’t buy it!”
In biblical times, Nunn said, gifts that were given during these holy celebrations were given to the Lord.
While reviewing His instructions about feasts, God stated, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which he has given you” (Deuteronomy 16:17).
What are you giving to the Lord this Christmas, over and above your tithe?
Third, to have the best Christmas ever, focus on people and not presents. Christmas is not about me, but my family, Nunn added.
This is a time to invest in family and build family memories.
“Spend as much time talking to your children as you do shopping for your children and spending on them.”
Deuteronomy 16:14 reads, “And you shall receive your feast, and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates.”
On the front end of what can become a mad, stress-filled rush to Dec. 25, pause and determine now that your focus is going to be on Jesus. After all, without Christ, there really is no true Christmas, is there?
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road and invites you to join them for Bible study this Sunday at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them at www.mcdonoughroad.org and “Like” them on Facebook.