Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

-Ephesians 5:15-16

We have crossed the point of no return: Black Friday. The holidays are officially upon us. Welcome to the season of holiday traditions, awkward family gatherings, gift giving, and delicious treats. Every year we have to fight distractions from the reason we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Here are some tips for making the most of this time of year and keeping Christ at the center of your Christmas celebration.

Use an Advent Reading Plan

This is a way to direct your thoughts to the broader significance of the birth of Jesus, and it can be especially helpful in the busy holiday season. Be sure to talk as a family about the gospel and why Jesus’ arrival is worth celebrating. Here’s a good one.

Make Church Attendance a Priority

Most churches will have advent-specific components to their worship services in December, including music and the sermon series. A ton of planning, practice, and effort goes into these services, so take advantage of them.

Give Thoughtfully

I’m not going to go on an anti-materialistic tirade here (but it would be warranted). My opinion is that gift giving for Christmas is an appropriate way to celebrate Jesus’ arrival. Just like anything else, we take it way past reasonable. Give with purpose, genuinely thinking of others.

Cast Your Cares on the Lord

The holiday season can bring painful memories of lost loved ones. It’s also a time when jealousy or discontentment can flare up in our hearts. Fight back. Honestly confess your hurt to the Lord. Share your burden with a trusted brother or sister in Christ. Seek Biblical counsel. If you’re not hurting, be aware of those who may be. Let’s rejoice over Jesus’ birth, and weep with those who weep.

Be Mindful of Your Entertainment Choices

One of our favorite things to do as a family this time of year is enjoy some sports and some of our favorite movies. This blessing of time off can also be a curse in two ways: we can waste a lot of time watching movies and sports instead of investing in our friends and families. We can also spend time being entertained by art that we know we shouldn’t be watching. Have the courage to enjoy the game or movie, and then turn off the TV and have a good conversation or do something together. Ask someone how they’ve grown spiritually in the last year, or what parts of God’s Word impacted them.

Take Advantage of Awkward Generic Holiday Language and Parties

People are so weird about the word Christmas. Why not use that as a gospel sharing opportunity? We can respectfully explain that we celebrate the birth of Jesus because of his death and resurrection on our behalf and the forgiveness he offers through faith. No need for boycotting, just winsome sharing of the best news.

Invite Your Friends & Family to Church

Christmas services are some of the most well-attended church services of the year. People who rarely attend church will consider going on Christmas. This is a great opportunity to invite them to catch a sneak peak of the church in action, and hear the gospel.

Don’t Stop Worshipping Jesus after Christmas

The post-Christmas spiritual let down can be brutal. After December 25 remind yourself that Jesus is still our Savior and Lord. The best way to start a new year is to finish the last one strong.

Posted by:Ryan Boys

Ryan serves as the Senior Pastor of Green Pond Bible Chapel in Rockaway, New Jersey. He is married with four children.

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