With Christmas come spiritual reminders in everyday life but that doesn’t need to stop on December 26! 4 ideas to keep the spirit of Christmas all year.
How to Carry on the Spirit of Christmas throughout the Year
The Christmas season comes like a flash. It is here with all of its giving, serving, extra expense, hosting, and thinking about other people.
Then December 26th comes and the rest of the year is spent filling our homes and hearts with a lifestyle that revolves around us.
It is good that every year we build into our lives an intentional time to think about all Christ has done for us. It is good that we are prompted to host and serve and love others well because of this season. It is a good thing that we think about others, what they want, what they look forward to, and how we can bless them during the Christmas holiday.
Times of feasting and remembering have been built into our Christian history from the beginning. The Israelites were encouraged to remember what God had done throughout history through the Passover feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, and other celebrations like those. In the New Testament, we see believers celebrate a different kind of feast as communion is shared. Feasting for holidays is not required of Christians, the Bible makes this clear (Colossians 2:16-17). But, in my life it has certainly proven itself to be a blessing.
That being said, the birth of Christ should not only be celebrated when December 1st rolls around and we pull our Advent Calendars and spend too much money on gifts. The birth of Christ changed all of human history.
Because Christ was born, we have a future and a hope. We have joy and blessing. We know what it means to be loved with abiding, steadfast, immeasurable love. We know what it means to be forgiven.
And it is on that basis that we must realize, the “spirit of Christmas” cannot only live in the Christian life for the month of December.
God, the only God, stepped into His creation, took on flesh, lived a perfect life while sin ravaged everything around Him, died on the Cross, and rose from the grave to offer us victory! We have no choice but to live in such a way that we showcase this kind of love and passion and generosity.
So, how do we do that? How do we refuse to let the generosity and warmth of Christmas fade when the radio stations go back to regular music and the decorations come down? How do we live like we have been radically changed by what happened that first Christmas night? I’ve put together a few of my thoughts on the matter and would love to hear from you too in the comments below with your ideas!
1. Be Generous
The month of December is marked with above average generosity generally. It is long lines in stores because so many people want just the right gift for their loved one. It is more than enough help at soup kitchens, and big donations to charity. It is making time for family gatherings and bringing cookies to neighbors. But what among those examples of generosity with money, time, and love could not be a regular part of your life throughout the year? As Christians, our entire lives can be marked with above average generosity. And isn’t that what the Bible calls us to anyway?!
We are called to “prefer one another” (Romans 12:10). We are supposed to treat others with the kind of preferential love we want to be shown (Matthew 7:12). And none of us want to only be shown that kind of love at Christmastime.
Continually asking the question, “how can I be generous with the people God has placed around me?” will lead to lifestyle of generosity that will carry the “spirit of Christmas” throughout the year.
2. Commit to Hosting
“They’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow.” That song rings loud in our ears this time of year. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” But why can’t our lives be filled with hosting? Why can’t we remember throughout the year that, because of God’s sovereignty and ultimate goodness, it all is the most wonderful time?
So, pick a day every month (or even better, every week!), and host. Welcome others into the undecorated, un-fabricated life you live. Host parties, host small gatherings, host children, and elderly people, and afternoon tea. Maintain the “spirit of Christmas” in your daily life through hosting and don’t allow that beautiful blessing to come only once time a year!
If you would like some accountability for this journey, make sure you check out the 2020 Cultivate Community Bidner! It is the perfect way to commit to hosting throughout the year.
3. Read Scripture
During the Advent season, it is easier for families and individuals to commit to reading the Scriptures. It is part of our tradition. Maybe you took one of my advent suggestions and have been working through a Bible reading program or daily devotional or maybe it is just part of your tradition to read the story of the first Christmas. Whatever the case, there is a good chance your heart has been blessed by some additional Scripture this time of year. So, continue that.
Read the Bible daily. Maintain of posture of thankfulness. The story of Christmas and all that has meant for human history is no less amazing in May or August. So, take the habit you started during Advent this year and commit to it throughout the coming year! That is a beautiful, and definitely the most impactful, way to carry on the “spirit of Christmas”.
4. Develop family rhythms
Develop family rhythms that make every week something special, something to be thankful for. Don’t allow Christmastime to be when you make up for your lack of traditions otherwise. Build into your weeks, things that make them enjoyable, family rhythms your children or those who you welcome into your home will remember and will become building blocks for life.
Make these rhythms meaningful, filling them with Scripture and thankfulness, laughter and conversation.
If you need ideas for this, check out this post.
Christmas and the Christ-centered Life
Ultimately, the “spirit of Christmas” is not about December 25th. That is just a day we mark on our calendars to make our otherwise busy and self-centered selves think about Christ and about others. But the real Christian life is meant to be lived thinking about Christ and others daily. There is no better time than today, whenever you are reading this, to decide the “spirit of Christmas” will live on in your home and your heart throughout the year.
Maintaining that “spirit of Christmas” is a lot easier when we are equipped with the tools we need to keep going when life gets in the way. Making any change in our lives taken commitment. If you want a great tool to help you on this journey, grab your copy of the 2020 Cultivate Community Binder while it is available!
Have you committed to this kind of lifestyle? What does that look like for you? I would love to hear in the comments below!