“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
We’re all familiar with the term Fake News – but what about Fake Hope during this upcoming Christmas a season? Messaging from retailers competing for our attention and dollars drown out the real message of hope. We are bombarded by unrealistic expectations of a commercialized, consumer-driven Christmas.
Unrealistic portrayals of idyllic Norman Rockwell Christmas fueled by Social Media, Lifetime Movies and the longing of the human heart lead many to wallow in isolation, comparison and drown in the false belief that others live a life that we only dream of – during the most “wonderful time of the year”. Holidays are the prime time to either feel sorry for ourselves or drive us to create a fake picture of Clark Griswold’s world of Christmas cheer and celebration.
But God’s Word tells us that, as His children, our hope comes from God. It’s an internal deposit from our Heavenly Father – not externally manufactured.
Here are 5 things about What NOT to do this Christmas:
- Only hang out with people like you. Sure, Jesus modeled serving others who are less fortunate than us; but why should we get our hands messy and become uncomfortable over Christmas? Just hang out with folks like you and have fun.
- Spend time on social media – guaranteed to isolate and heighten feelings of comparison.
- Neglect your quiet time with God, prayer and skip church if you’re too tired. The holidays are busy, right? When something needs to be cut from your schedule – the Bible, prayer and corporate worship can be the first to go.
- Fill your calendar to the brim with Christmas Cheer. Distraction beats isolation every time! Believe that you can do it all. Bake all the cookies. Attend all the parties. Don’t take time to rest and practice self-care.
- Finally – don’t ponder the world-changing implications of the Christmas story – leave the reality of our Messiah coming to earth in the neat tidy Children’s Bible with the smiling faces around the manger. Ignore the astonishing yet straightforward message that Jesus became man and dwelt among us, eating with sinners and tax collectors, dying a brutal death for our sins, then resurrected to give us new life in Him. No need to dwell on that and let it convict you of sin and apathy. Stay comfortable and complacent and busy!
In all seriousness, the distractions at Christmas are all around us. Take time to focus on the Good News and the most precious gift of Christmas – Jesus Christ!