Whether you are happy, sad, or just plain out tired this Christmas season, you can know you are embracing the Christmas spirit, if you are focusing on Jesus and His advent into the world.
Does truly embracing the Christmas spirit require associated feelings? During the Christmas holiday, it is common to think we should somehow “feel” the Christmas spirit; however, simply because you do not “feel” you are embracing the Christmas spirit does not mean you aren't stepping into this season with joy and gratitude.
Greater Than Our Feelings
If you feel you are not truly embracing the Christmas spirit, you are not alone. There have been many Christmas seasons to have passed in my life where I did not feel I was embracing the Christmas spirit. The good thing to know is that embracing the Christmas spirit has nothing to do with your feelings or emotions. Embracing the Christmas spirit means you are embracing the true meaning of Christmas, which is Jesus’ birth into the world (Matthew 1:18-25). Understanding, acknowledging, and reflecting on Jesus’ birth into the world is all that is needed in order to embrace the Christmas spirit.
Since the passing of my Mother in 2016, there have been many Christmases that I did not possess one iota of Christmas cheer. Despite feeling depressed, lonely, and isolated, I was still able to embrace the Christmas spirit because it had nothing to do with my feelings, but it had everything to do with the focus of my mind. If we focus our mind on Jesus, then, friends, we are truly embracing the Christmas spirit.
Maybe you find yourself in a difficult time this Christmas season. The passing of a loved one, a broken engagement, a divorce, an ending of a friendship, or a new diagnosis can cause depression during the holidays. No matter what you are struggling through this Christmas, you can rest in the knowledge that you can still embrace the Christmas spirit. Focusing on Jesus and His advent into the world is what truly matters. Embracing the Christmas spirit can only be accomplished if you have your mind focused on Jesus.
Christmas is not about fancy gifts, elaborate decorations, or huge get-togethers. Rather, Christmas is about celebrating the Lord’s birth in the world. Jesus was born into the world to redeem us from our sins. He was not born into the world for us to spend thousands of dollars on Christmas presents to our loved ones. There is nothing wrong with buying gifts for our loved ones, but the true meaning of Christmas is not found in presents, parties, or even in our loved ones. The true meaning of Christmas rests in the advent of Jesus into the world—nothing else. You can know if you are truly embracing the Christmas spirit if you are focusing on Jesus.
Ways to Redirect Your Focus
There are many ways to redirect your focus this Christmas season. If you are finding yourself tired, drained, and overwhelmed, you are not alone. Instead of stressing over holiday preparations, come to rest at Jesus’ feet. Martha was worried about preparations that had to be done, but there was only one thing she needed to do—to come and sit at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:38-42). In the same way, the Christmas season tries to pull our focus away from God and put our focus on Christmas events, functions, and shopping. We have to be intentional about redirecting our focus to Jesus during this Christmas season. When we redirect our focus to Jesus, we can truly embrace the Christmas spirit. You might be surprised as to how much better you feel once your focus is directed to Jesus rather than on the festivities of Christmas culture.
The aspects of Christmas culture, such as the twinkling lights, the pretty gift wrap, and the holiday feasts, may be fun and exciting; however, there is nothing as great as focusing on Jesus. The Lord is our bright, shining star who guides us in the way we should go. He is the One who directs our steps and commands the storms in our hearts to be calm. It is when we are truly focusing on Him that we truly embrace the Christmas spirit. You can embrace the Christmas spirit by learning all you can about Jesus through reading the Bible as well as being active in your relationship with Him.
Maybe during the pandemic, you have found yourself growing restless, panicked, or agitated with the ongoing uncertainties of the world and you are thirsting for peace. Jesus can provide you with peace that the world cannot (John 14:27). By taking the time to read the Bible and pray to Jesus, you will be able to truly embrace the Christmas spirit. Read the birth accounts of the Lord in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Reflect, ponder, and sit in wonder of the amazing Savior and Lord. The advent of Jesus’ life into the world was extraordinary and unique. There has never been a person born into the world in the same way as Jesus Christ: a virgin birth that delivered a baby who would be the Great Deliverer of the world, dying to redeem humanity from our sins (Romans 6:23).
It is all too often that we overlook the true reason for Christmas. We can get blinded by the sparkling gifts or the shining lights to the point that we lose our focus on Jesus Christ. After a period of time, we start to believe that the Christmas spirit is associated with how many gifts we can buy, how bright our Christmas lights are, or how tasty our Christmas dinner is. More often than not, we associate the “Christmas spirit” with our feelings and emotions. We believe a person is a “grinch” or “Scrooge” if they are not happy, joyful, and singing Christmas carols.
I have been that “grinch” or “Scrooge” in the past, but it did not mean I did not have the Christmas spirit. You might know a “grinch” or a “Scrooge” this year, or maybe you find yourself being a “grinch” or a “Scrooge.” It could be that a traumatic event caused the person you know or even you yourself to feel this way. Losing a loved one, going through the end of a friendship, or losing your job can make you feel as if you have no Christmas spirit left in your veins. Friend, your Christmas spirit does not come from your feelings, emotions, or whatever you are struggling through this holiday season. Embracing the Christmas spirit comes from focusing on Jesus and His advent into the world.
When you intentionally choose to focus on Jesus, joy will seep from your heart and pour out into the lives of your loved ones. Once your focus is on Jesus, it will be as if you have a new pair of glasses on. You will see the world in a different way and not just during the Christmas season. The great thing about redirecting your focus on Jesus is that once you realize He is all that you need, He will be all that you want. You can choose to focus on Jesus every day of the year and experience the love of Jesus extending from your heart, mind, and hands to the lives of others. Whether you are happy, sad, or just plain out tired this Christmas season, you can know you are embracing the Christmas spirit, if you are focusing on Jesus and His advent into the world.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Joseph Gonzalez
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.