Christmas is my favorite time of year. Many of my favorite memories are often accompanied by thoughts of Christmas. When I was a child, I remember going Christmas shopping and sitting on Santa’s lap for pictures. Mom would take us to the Fashioned Square Mall in Saginaw, Michigan. We were poor, so Christmas really was the only time I got to go to the mall. I remember just as soon as I got that picture with Santa, I made a beeline for the electronics store and would stand there and play the latest video game. In fact, it was the only video game available, and I would play it for hours. Literally from the time we got there until the mall closed, I would stand there playing an Atari table tennis game. The younger generation is probably wondering what Table tennis on T.V. is, but my generation remembers well. It was the first video game that ever came out. Then I remember the little handheld Mattel football game – red lights and 9 volt batteries that would consume our time.
Electronics continued to boom, and as it did, the more families began to segregate even within their own homes. I remember when texting first started from cell phones, the local news hosted a couple who was having marital problems. That wasn’t really the interesting part though, the reason they were having marital problems was because they had forgotten, for all intents and purposes, how to communicate with one another. This particular couple would actually sit next to each other on their couch, and rather than talk to one another or look at one another they would text one another. Distance grew between them because they lost each other in technology. Sure they still communicated, but there is something to be said for looking a person in the eyes and speaking to them especially if they are family. Technology has changed things. It can be used for good, no doubt, but it can also cause us to lose sight of that which is important: the relationships we have with one another, and how we communicate them. I have to tell you, the Chappell house struggles with this is as well. We have become so dependent on cell phones that even when we sit down to eat together half of us are texting or looking at some app on the phone.
There are other distractions we are faced with, and everyone has them. Distractions are anything that focus our attentions from the things that are really important. Quality family time and relationships, setting good examples for our children or friends, and our zeal for the Lord often suffer because of distractions. Distractions can be work or work-related issues as well. But the truth is, nothing should pull us away from our priorities. Although, if work or your favorite hobby is taking priority over your relationship with God, then you are not handling those affairs in a godly manner. We are to let nothing interfere with our relationship with the Father. Absolutely nothing. Not work, not the weather, not fishing, not baseball, not cell phones, not video games…not our homes, not our families, not resentment toward your church, church family, or another believer…not anything.
There are things even in my life that I need to readjust to fix this issu, and I plan on starting now. Christmas isn’t about games anymore, not for me. It is not about what I get under the tree or a big family meal (although us Baptists love to eat). For me, Christmas is all about the Messiah, the Anointed One who entered my world so that I could join Him in His. And not just me, but everyone. For me, Christmas is about celebrating the love of Christ and the only way I know how to do that is to be more Christlike. There are several things I will do in order to accomplish that, maybe some of these will work for you:
- The Chappell home will fast from their phones on Christmas day (except for emergencies of course) and focus on one another and Jesus.
- Christ came to usher in the day of grace, that which we have been saved by. We are going to be more diligent in paying that grace forward. I cannot realistically expect anyone to be perfect (there is only One JESUS)! Hence, we shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations of others. People will fail and disappoint you. Be a picture of Christ, forgive them, show them that you forgive them, and illustrate the grace that you have been afforded by His coming.
- Sometimes that may mean materially, but not necessarily. Be sensitive to what others need. Sometimes people just need to know you care and have compassion for them.
- Most of all, don’t let this season be just another day to archive in your memories as Christmas 2019. Prayerfully consider doing something intentional for someone else that exhibits the love of Jesus. That’s what I am going to do.
You may think of other ways to Celebrate the Messiah. Maybe a prayer time with your whole family, maybe a visit to someone that is in need, or some other thing that the Lord lays on your heart. Be sensitive to Him and tell others you love them in the name of the Lord! We have much to be thankful for.