During the holidays, it’s easy to get wound up in shopping, decorating and planning. We can find ourselves caught up in the busyness of the season and even feel a little stressed out. That’s why it’s so important to keep Jesus at the center, even during such a busy time of the year. Today, I want to give you girls a list of five things about Jesus and His teachings that we need to keep in our hearts and minds during the holiday season.
After all, He’s the reason we celebrate, right?
1. Jesus always made time for people.
It can be hard to keep having patience for all the friends and family that we visit during the holiday season—sometimes too much of that can leave us tired and a little emotionally drained. I imagine Jesus felt that way a lot because of all the people who always wanted to be around Him.
When I feel overwhelmed by the events going on at the holidays, I try to remember that Jesus always made time for two things: God and other people.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. —Mark 12:30-31
During the holidays, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time with family and friends. It’s likely that you might even spend time with someone who has hurt or offended you. I want to encourage you this year to give yourself and someone else one of the best gifts ever: forgiveness.
“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” —Matthew 5:23-24
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” —Matthew 6:14
If there’s someone God has been putting on your heart to forgive or if you need to ask someone for forgiveness, make that your gift this holiday season.
3. Giving is ALWAYS better than receiving.
My husband, Dave, and I love giving gifts to people. It’s so much fun to bless people, and I’d rather do that than get presents any day!
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” —Luke 6:38
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” —Proverbs 11:24-25
4. Take care of those less fortunate than you.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” —Hebrews 13:16 (See also Matthew 25:31-46.)
I’ll never forget last year’s Christmas. It was the first Christmas that Dave and I were youth pastors, and becoming youth pastors left us in a difficult financial position. After youth group one night, a student handed us an envelope with a $200 check inside. We asked where she got it, and I’ll never forget her answer. When her mom asked what she wanted for Christmas, she said instead of a gift, she wanted to give the money her mom was going to spend on her to us.
Girls, “less fortunate” doesn’t always mean homeless. Sometimes there are struggling people in our churches, right under our noses. Is there someone you know who could use a little extra blessing this holiday season?
5. Don’t judge (Luke 6:37).
Finally, girls, I want to remind you that there’s always more to someone’s story than you know. Let’s not judge others too harshly, especially during the holidays. This time of year is harder for some than it might be for you. Show grace and mercy to people who are struggling and to those who are busy working during this holiday season.
Use your beautiful smiles and encouraging words to brighten the lives of others.
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” —Matthew 7:12
Girls, what teachings of Jesus do you keep in mind during the holidays?
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