It’s December again, the month we celebrate Christmas. My wife gets very excited this time of year, especially when it comes to making memories and sharing some wonderful traditions with our children. She puts out all the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving, which is a bit late for Filipinos like us. Normally, once the “Ber” months hit, we take out the Christmas tree, lanterns, socks, and think of all the gifts we will be getting for one another. Since we live in the United States and both of our kids are American born, we have come up with a hybrid celebration. On Christmas Eve we stay up until “Noche Buena” or 12 a.m., praying and worshiping to celebrate the birth of Jesus, as well as eating most of the evening. Then, we will wake up the next morning and open all the gifts under the Christmas tree, accompanied of course, with more eating.
As we prepare for this year’s Christmas celebration, I have been reflecting on a good gift that I can give to my family and to God. People have said, “we need to remember the reason for the season”, “we should know what we are celebrating,” and “we should focus on Jesus and not Santa and the gifts.” All of this is true; however, I thought to myself it is not just remembering Jesus on His birthday and that he saved us, but we should actually have more of Christ’s influence in our lives. We can remember Him all we want, but not really having him as a part of our lives somehow defeats the whole point of Him saving us. We need to have, “ChristMas” (more of Christ). This will be my gift to God, to have more of Jesus’ influence in my life. Thus, we started the “ChristMas” series at New Life Church – Santa Rosa.
First, we need to have more of Christ in ourselves. His influence should be so evident that we become more like Him. Imagine if we partner with Christ in fulfilling the call of God in our lives. “We can do all things through him” as it says in Philippians 3:14. We are also “a new creation in Him” based on 2 Corinthians 5:17. Christ himself said that we will do greater things than what he did when he was here on Earth. We need to have more of Him inside of us if we want to help change the world. Yes, sign me up! I want more of Him in my life.
Then, we need to have more of Christ in our families. We need to start praying for our families or better yet, we should start having family prayer times. We need to have a Christ like atmosphere around our families so it doesn’t get awkward when we start talking about Jesus, His goodness, His love, His plans, etc. It needs to start with the parents, even if they feel they aren’t “good enough” to lead their family spiritually. I mean when you look at all the men of God in the Old Testament whether it’s David, Abraham, or Moses, all of them had failures, but it didn’t stop them from leading their families to do the will of God in their lives and their families’ lives. We need more of Him in us, with parents working hard to provide not just finances but morality, health, and spiritual guidance. Kids will have respect and honor for the elderly and a reverence for God. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just a simple application of responsibility from the family members.
Lastly, imagine if every family is led by Christ in all aspects of their lives; it will impact our neighborhoods/cities. With all the poverty, crime, and hatred going on, the only solution is to have more of Christ’s influence over our cities. We need to see believers praying for people in the streets, spreading love to those in need, mentoring the kids at risk (who are roaming around with no positive influence in their lives), and helping out single mothers and families who are struggling to put food on the table. The reality is, the church needs to be an influence on the city and impact the lives of those who live there. We need to have more of Christ visible in our cities.
In this Christmas season, I am seeking to have “ChristMas” (more of Christ) in me, in my family, and in my city. ChristMas indeed!