Christ-Following 101

Christ-Following 101 Vol. 7 – 49

There are three principles we should all remember as we enter the Christmas season; First, keep it simple. Jesus was born into some pretty sparse circumstances. The son of two poor Galileans, he lived a life of humility and simplicity that became a key element of his ministry here on earth.

Reflect Christ-like attitudes by focusing on the small things, being intentional in our personal relationships, and focusing on quality over quantity. Instead all the distractions Christmas has become within our culture. How many times have we bought the expensive gift only to watch the child enjoy the box more than the toy?

We should talk to one another, helping each other, and growing together. We should purposefully seek opportunities during the holiday season for one-on-one interactions, such as providing food for the homeless, helping needy single parents buy gifts for their children, or showering struggling families with practical, loving support – financially, emotionally, and spiritually.

Second, be present. We give love to people at Christmas when we show up in their lives, serving and celebrating. One way we tell our families and friends that we love them is by giving them our focused attention. Attention says, “I value you enough to give you my most precious asset – my time.”  When you give someone your time, you’re giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. You can always make more money, but you cannot make more time.

Third, give with delight. God uses giving as an antidote for materialism, and he loves it when we give with a delighted heart (2 Cor. 9:7). Jesus said there’s more happiness in giving than in receiving (Acts 20:35), but here’s an important point to remember at Christmas: Giving is a matter of willingness, not wealth. It’s attitude, not amount.  Christmas is about heart, not possessions.

We’ve replaced true, heartfelt, delightful giving with a hollow materialism that keeps us all overspending during the holidays. Instead, we should give from our hearts. Expand your definition of giving beyond the financial. Imagine how much you could bless others if you simply shared your time and talents.
The essence of Christmas is that we simply and humbly give of ourselves, just as God gave generously and sacrificially to us through his Son, Jesus Christ. This Christmas, let’s generously show up in the lives of others with our time, talents, money, possessions, and friendship.

Simple isn’t just beautiful – it’s powerful. You don’t have to cram your days full of activities, and you don’t have to make everything big, complicated, or expensive in order to enjoy Christmas. Keep your holidays simple, so you are free to serve those in need and celebrate with those you love.

Christ-Following 101 is written by Tim Rhodus, Lead Pastor of Cross Church, Carlinville-Staunton, thecrossmatters.org and   timrhodus.org.