Following Jesus in the Festive Season
What does your lead up to Christmas look like? For most, the month of December is filled with family get-togethers, work Christmas parties, gift buying, list writing, holiday planning, and I could go on! It’s a very exciting time of the year, but unfortunately the excitement and busyness can take away from the meaning of Christmas. Sure, we acknowledge that Christmas is about Jesus’ miraculous birth, but do we take time to truly acknowledge and appreciate how Jesus came, why Jesus came, and what it truly means for us?
Here are three practical suggestions as to how you might be able to prioritise seeking Jesus during this busy time of year.
Advent is the season leading up to Christmas. It is an opportunity to pause, reflect, prepare and marvel at the significance of Christmas. The word ‘advent’ itself means “arrival” or “an appearing or coming into place.” Through the centuries, Christians have celebrated Advent in different ways, including lighting candles, singing songs, giving gifts, fasting and many other traditions. Whatever the activity, ultimately Advent is about keeping Jesus as the centre and the focus in the lead up to Christmas Day.
How can you celebrate Advent?
- Advent Devotions: there are hundreds of Advent Bible reading plans available online and on YouVersion (Bible app). Christian book stores also have many Advent resources available for you and your family.
- Family Worship: In the Growth Group Guide for our new sermon series, ‘Upside Down Christmas’, there are Family Worship activities for you to do with your children.
- Read the Bible: Another tool in the Growth Group Guide are Daily Bible Readings, which will help you to appreciate and understand the real story of Christmas.
- Come to Church
This weekend we start a sermon series called ‘Upside Down Christmas’. We will be looking at the first two chapters in Matthew’s Gospel where we find the real story of Jesus’ birth. Make it a priority to come to church for the next four weekends so that you and your family can discover how the upside-down story of Jesus’ birth is both life-changing news for you and good news for our world.
Share your time, treasure, and talents with others this Christmas season.
- Time: Invite someone to Carols and to one of our Christmas services. Invite those you know who might be alone this Christmas to your celebrations. Make time to write cards to those who are in a season of hardship or pain. Prioritise prayer during your day; pray people will hear and understand why Jesus came and what that means.
- Treasure: Start a new Christmas tradition where you and your family choose a charity to support. Some excellent organisations and causes you could support include: Gifts of Compassion (www.compassion.com.au) New Life Orphanage (www.newlifetrust.org.au/), International Justice Mission (www.ijmgifts.org.au), and The Salvation Army (www.salvationarmy.org.au).
- Talents: There are many ways you can share your talents and one of them is Carols! Carols is next weekend and we still need lots of help on the day. Follow this link (www.volunteersignup.org/CJ4A7) to sign up. Along with serving at BPCC there are also many other local charities you could support. Follow Jesus’ example who himself came not to serve but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6