Christians everywhere are excited to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. In South Africa, the backdrop to the season is the prospect of a summer holiday and creating special memories with friends and family.
Most of us will probably navigate heavy traffic, endure sweltering heat, experience long shopping queues, witness tearful tots and even an impassioned exchange or two. All this, as we listen to our favourite Christmas carols. Many of us will host family members visiting from other cities and live in cramped spaces. When the initial excitement wanes, what then? It sometimes feels like the season to be merry is anything but.
We don’t feel serene and calm. Frantically running around finding that perfect outfit, the ideal cut of meat or gift for that special someone. Is it really that important? If you are a Martha-type personality (Luke 10:38-42), some of it probably is. It may be time to take a breather and to consider where the Saviour is in all of this. Here is the thing: Jesus exalted Mary because she quietly sat at the Master’s feet, attentive to all he said. He ascribed such importance to this and commended her for it. Surely, the same attitude would please him this Christmas as we celebrate his birth?
We have a selection of Scriptures arranged in applicable themes to tide you over this Christmas season.
Love of God
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10
Serenity and peace
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
Time with God
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy ... 1 Peter 1:8
Brotherly and sisterly love
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Love drives out fear
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Focus on Christ
… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith … Hebrews 12:2
Jesus is our treasure
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
Healing and hope
He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Celebrate good fortune
However, as it is written: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived" - the things God has prepared for those who love him ... 1 Corinthians 2:9
If we can meditate on these verses, then we can overcome the snares that sometimes overwhelm us and wreck what is meant to be the festive season. We often experience disappointment when the highly anticipated holidays and festivities do not live up to our expectations.
If our eyes are on Jesus and if our relationship with him is our priority; then an overcooked turkey, another pair of socks or more lavender soap won’t have the power to rob us of our joy. Then we can sincerely sing along to that Christmas hit and exclaim that Jesus is “All I want for Christmas”.