Christmas means different things to different people. But I believe these words from a song express what Christmas is truly about:
That first Christmas was spectacular! It was God who set the skies on fire to announce Jesus’ birth. So, it stands to reason, Christmas cannot be truly glorious apart from God. During this season, the whole world tries to duplicate the glory of that first Christmas. We spend hours decorating with shimmering lights, buying elaborate gifts, then wrapping them beautifully in brilliant colors. But all the spray glitter in the world can’t capture or duplicate the glory of God. True, beautiful decorating can be a representation of His glory, but apart from Him, it’s merely a work of the flesh rather than a work of the Spirit. And the glory will be missing.
A work of the Spirit means doing something that is born of the Spirit and led by the Spirit.
Like everyone else, I’ve had projects that have appeared successful, but I knew in my heart they really weren’t. Why? Because I wasn’t led of the Spirit in doing those particular things so they weren’t God’s priority for my life. In the end, my family, my health or my peace was compromised because I had pursued something the Lord didn’t lead me to do.
Everything that has truly been successful in my life has been a result of being led by the Holy Spirit.
Which Master Will You Serve?
Matthew 6:24 in The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says, “No one can serve two masters…. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).” It would be good to keep this scripture in mind during Christmastime. There is a deception in the world that says making your holidays memorable or successful requires spending lots of time, money and energy. Everywhere you look, there are more beautiful things to buy, more creative things to do, and pictures of someone else’s family looking happier than yours unless you produce that glorious holiday experience they expect. This is materialism in top form! At no other time of year do we expect a great spiritual encounter to be produced by such natural “stuff.”
Don’t put yourself under pressure to measure up to what other people do. You’re serving God, not mammon or things. Success is really measured by how much you are led of the Lord.
The whole point of maturing in your Christian walk is to be led by the Spirit of God. That requires getting your priorities in order.
It means not putting off what is important in favor of doing things that don’t really matter. You won’t have time to do everything, but you will have time to accomplish those things the Lord tells you to do.
Our responsibilities in the earth are so much more than decorating trees and wrapping pretty packages. It’s far more important for us to be sensitive and obedient to the Spirit of God, and far more important for us not to miss our prayer cues.
If the Lord says, Forget decorating. I need you to pray today, will you be willing to obey? If you aren’t, that’s a good indication things have taken priority over people in your life. You see, when God asks you to do something it’s always on behalf of other people.
When I worked in television, my schedule was so full it seemed I never got everything done that I desired to do. One Christmas a girl came to my door and said, “I’m going to wrap all your presents for you.” She was being obedient to the Lord and came in double-holstered—with glue guns! When she finished, we had the loveliest packages under our tree! She did a much better job than I could have done.
Now honestly, my pride said I should have been doing the wrapping. But I put aside pride and was so thankful for the wonderful way God had blessed us. He sent help when I needed it, enabling me to take care of other responsibilities.
Don’t have a predetermined mindset about Christmas. Find out what will truly bless your family. Once I asked my son, “What do you really like about Christmas?” He simply said, “I like the smells when things are cooking.” He didn’t care if his room was decorated. So I realized there was no good reason to bother with that.
Matthew 6:25, AMPC, says, “Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or…what you shall put on.” Don’t worry about your Christmas tree, presents, Christmas wardrobe or even your Christmas dinner. “Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?”
Isn’t it more important to provide a home of peace and love rather than a nicely decorated house? Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t decorate. I love decorating. But the point is to find out what the Holy Spirit is saying. This year, you may want to try decorating a little differently. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in all you do this season. You can expect the manifest presence of God in your home when you follow His instructions (John 14:21).
If something looks fabulous but the Lord isn’t in it, people may ooh and aah, but it will be about you. They may admire your stunning decorations, they may go on and on about what a delicious meal you’ve prepared, and how gorgeous the table looks. And in reality, that’s probably what many of us are looking for. But the truth is, that is pride.
Instead, our reason for decorating and preparing for Christmas should be to glorify God. We should strive to create an environment in our homes where our family and others will sense the presence of the Lord and be blessed. When we exalt Him by looking to Him first, He will then honor us with His presence.
When all is said and done, it could be that your home will look exactly the same. But one way comes from a motivation of the flesh, or pride, and one from a motivation of the Spirit. It is always better to be led of the Spirit and sensitive to the Lord, rather than under pressure to do things. The Scripture says:
Arrest thoughts such as How am I going to get all this done? Instead, ask the Lord, “What do You want me to do, and how shall I go about doing it?” Verses 32-33 go on to tell us why: “For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”
Right now, make a quality decision that this Christmas you will seek first His kingdom—His way of doing and being right. Put your way of doing Christmas aside, and let the Spirit lead you. He is after all, the Spirit of Christmas! Your giving will be seeds of love, not obligations. Your energy will be refreshed instead of depleted. Your time will be invested instead of lost. Then, because you let Him lead, you will end your holidays reflecting on God’s goodness to you and through you.
Reread this article a lot this month so you will remember this Christmas and every day of the new year, to be led of the Lord in all you do. His presence, His joy and His glory will be in it!
~ by Pastor Terri Copeland Pearsons