It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of the season, but dare we ask ourselves what really matters this Christmas? If we do, we might just discover that it changes everything, says Susie Larson


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Christmas is a time of great joy, expectancy and celebration. Yet, all too often, we lose ourselves in preparations and miss the sacredness of the season. Why does it matter? Because it’s this holiday on which we honour the birth of our saviour. It’s this time of year when people are open to the things of God. And it’s precisely this season when Christians most often lose sight of what’s available to them in Christ Jesus.

We are people created in God’s image. We have access to his presence and his promises. So why all the strain and stress? Dare we ask ourselves what honestly matters most to us this Christmas?

Change your focus and this could be your most life-giving Christmas yet

God invites us to push away the clutter, turn down the noise and offer him the sacred space in our lives so that the king of glory may enter, take up residence and radically change us from the inside out. We can race through our holiday season more stressed than blessed or we can slow down, ponder the reality of Christ within us, and respond to his miraculous work.

Here are five ways to make the most of your Christmas this year:

1. Give yourself time to heal:

Step out of the hustle-bustle of the season. Find a quiet place to rest and reflect. What comes to the surface for you? How have the disappointments and detours of this past year impacted you? Are you mad? Sad? Expectant and glad? Most of us tend to loosen our grip when we lose heart, yet this is precisely the time to lean in, engage your faith and dare to believe that your saviour is also a healer.

2. Give God the glory he deserves:

The king of the universe is not a tyrannical leader. He’s the saviour of the world. The Christmas story isn’t old news. It’s good news. It’s now news! Salvation isn’t just an addendum to the end of your life and Christmas isn’t just a quaint little story. When Jesus was born, God’s kingdom came to earth! Celebrate with joy. Give meaningful gifts to those you love. Enjoy a good party. But refuse to let the commercialism of Christmas quench the true spirit of this earth-shaking holiday. Jesus came, and he’s coming again. Let us worship the king of glory, for he has done great things.

3. Practice a measure of restraint:

As we journey through this Advent season, may we remember that we live in a world of overindulgence, over-commitment, premature multiplication and shortcuts. And shortcuts almost always lead to compromise. What if we did something otherworldly this season? What if we slowed our pace and reduced our intake? What if we took in the sights, the scents and decided to be fully present? What if we gave God time and space to speak to us about our needs, our hopes and his intentions toward us?

There’s a way to enjoy the beauty of the season and encounter the living saviour without waking up regretful on New Year’s Day. Fast from regret, shame and fear; fast from overdoing it in any way that’s too costly. Say no to numbing indulgence and say yes to enjoying and celebrating God’s goodness. God speaks most clearly to those who make space for him.

4. Give gifts to those you normally wouldn’t:

Giving gifts to the already rich is, well, fine. But offering gifts to those who cannot repay you is sacred. Want to turn this Christmas right-side-up? Give generously and thoughtfully to someone who doesn’t expect a gift from you. Give a gift to someone who’s not been kind to you. Surprise them with the goodness of God. Scripture reminds us that he’s good to everyone. Will you trust him? God wants to train you in some of the higher ways of the kingdom. Do what you can for those who don’t deserve it and for those who cannot repay you. For this is how God has treated us. Show the world what God is like.

5. See the bigger story

When you set out to be a serious follower of Christ, you’ll find a thousand excuses to tend to temporary things like they’re the most important things in the world. But eternal rewards come from eternal priorities. Think higher, see deeper. Repeatedly, Jesus urged people to open their eyes and see the coming kingdom. See the story God is writing on the earth through you because of Jesus. Your current season is packed with eternal possibilities.

Dare we ask ourselves what honestly matters most to us this Christmas?

Change your focus, determine your pace, adjust your priorities and this could be your most life-giving Christmas yet. Whether you already walk intimately with Jesus or you see him more like a distant relative, do know that he’s very near and that he came to redeem every aspect of who you are.

Let’s prepare our hearts to encounter Jesus in a fresh, compelling and life-changing way.

Let earth receive her king this Christmas!

Susie’s Advent devotional, Prepare Him Room (Baker Publishing) is available now