On occasion, my wife says that my Christmas personality is a little bit like the Grinch. While she does not venture into Clark Griswold territory regarding her Christmas spirit, she does love the decorations, the season and all the trappings more than I do. Maybe you love the season, but not all the busyness that comes along with it. Following are several ways you can spoil the wonder of the Christmas season if you aren’t careful.
1. Say yes to everything.
Ministry is busy, and can be especially so during the holiday season. Extra events, ministry opportunities, parties, and services are part of the season. Your time will be in demand. You can definitely spoil the Christmas season by trying to do everything you are asked to do. Sometimes you just have to say no.
2. Say no to everything.
While saying no to some things will be necessary, avoid the opposite extreme. The Christmas season provides an opportunity to serve and minister to people you may not see or come in contact with any other time of the year. Be wise and look for timely opportunities to say yes and maximize your ministry influence.
3. Give to everything.
It is truly more blessed to give than to receive, but giving to every ministry organization who asks for something at the Christmas season may not be sustainable. By picking a few special giving opportunities and including your family in shopping and sharing you can amplify the impact of your giving.
4. Give to nothing.
Ebenezer Scrooge and his miserly ways were inconsistent with the prodigal generosity of God. Most of the pastors I know do give generously but Christmas is a good reminder that we should give intentionally and significantly.
5. Allow stresses to steal your joy.
Christmas and end of year stresses often overlap. The busyness of the season, worries about details, and end of year church budgets along with the normal ministry concerns can make for a stressful Christmas season. Make time to decompress and enjoy family as a means of mitigating stress.
6. Put ministry before your family.
Christmas is a special time of the year for family. Sometimes ministry emergencies will take time away from family. But emergencies are not the norm. Keep your family a priority this Christmas season. Give them some of your best time, energy, and compassion at Christmas.
7. Forget to know and worship the resurrected Jesus because by being overly attuned to the Jesus in the manger.
The incarnation of Christ at Christmas is a beautiful historical event and glorious theological necessity. But the sentimentalism and commercialization of Christmas often overshadows the permanent purpose of the incarnation. The infant’s hands in the manger were destined for Roman spikes. The stable of Jesus’ birth (which may have been in a cave) foreshadowed the cave where Jesus would rise from the dead. Remind yourself and your church often of the crucified and resurrected Christ who made the incarnation a permanent wonder.
There are many ways we can maximize the wonder of the season. There are other ways we can spoil the season. Take time to consider whether you are on the trajectory to spoil Christmas or make it special.