Written By Yosua Andreas, originally in Bahasa Indonesia
Christmas is a special time of the year for many people. Whenever December comes, I often hear my friends express their desires for this season, such as:
“I hope the person I like will accept my proposal this Christmas.”
“I want to celebrate a special Christmas eve with my darling.”
“I want this Christmas to be an unforgettable experience.”
There is nothing wrong in hoping for good things to happen during Christmas. But as I reflected on the true meaning of Christmas, I realized that many of our desires are self-centered. So I decided to rewrite my expectations this year.
1. I hope to focus my heart and mind on the birth of Jesus
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we all know this. But the reality is that we sometimes get caught up in the celebrations and lose sight of Jesus himself. It’s just like going to someone’s birthday party and having a party on our own, forgetting that it’s all about that person.
This year, I want to take time to remember the joyful news that Christmas brings for the world: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:11). I hope to celebrate Christmas with my heart and mind focused on the Lord Jesus.
2. I hope to share the true meaning of Christmas with those who do not know it
My pastor once shared his experience at a restaurant during Christmas. All the waitresses were wearing Santa Claus costumes. So he asked one of them, “Miss, do you know what Christmas is all about? Why are all the staff here wearing Santa Claus costumes?” The waitress looked puzzled and replied, “Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Santa Claus, isn’t it?”
We may think that everyone knows that Christmas is about the birth of Christ. But the reality is that there are many people around us who have never attended church, much less even heard of Jesus. To them, Christmas is synonymous with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, red-nose reindeer, and snowmen. Everybody seems to be celebrating Christmas, but how many people actually know its true meaning?
It is my hope that people will hear the story of the baby in the manger who came to save His people, the magnificent heavenly host who sang praises to God, and the special star that brought the Magi to worship the King of the universe. This Christmas, I hope that I will have the opportunity to share the hope I have in Jesus.
3. I hope to fill my Christmas with thanksgiving
Christmas is usually a time for people to exchange gifts. While this is a good tradition, being too occupied with Christmas gifts can shift our focus from God. A friend of mine proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas but was rejected, and was very disappointed. Christmas then became a reminder of the worst day in his life.
I do not want the beauty of Christmas to be determined by what others give me during this season. Christmas is beautiful because it is the day God gave us the best gift—himself. The coming of Christ is proof of God’s great love for us. Who are we that God has come to save and renew our lives? It is only when we remember that Christ is the One who makes our lives meaningful, will our hearts overflow with thanksgiving.
4. I hope to do things that please the Lord
Christmas is seen as a time to have fun, gather with family and friends, and do things we’ve never done before. Many will party and even do unsavoury things. But hey, everything’s okay as long as your heart is merry, right?
But . . . if Christmas is about Christ, shouldn’t we think about and do things that are pleasing to Him, and not ourselves? Jesus came to the world not just to save us from the penalty of sin, but also to do things that please and glorify God.
5. I hope to grow more like Christ
Celebrating the birth of Jesus year by year does not mean that we will know and grow more in His likeness. This is something I’ve been reflecting on this year. Have I grown to love Him more? Have I grown in my eagerness to meditate on His Word and put it into practice? Do my words and deeds reflect more of Christ’s character?
Christmas greetings and gifts are meaningless if we do not have a personal encounter with Christ and let our lives be transformed in Him. So this year, I want it to be all about Jesus and less about me.
How about you? What do you hope for Christmas this year?