What’s your definition of Christmas? What does Christmas mean to you?
For most of us, Christmas means spending quality time with family and loved ones. For others, Christmas means buying gifts and hosting the biggest parties. In the case of most children, Christmas is a day they get to open presents and take pictures with Santa.
So really, what is the true meaning of Christmas?
If you grew up in Church, you know by memory the famous verse found in John 3:16,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
When was the last time you heard or read this verse for yourself and actually pondered it?
It had been a while for me. But after recently reading it over and over again, I was reminded of its value and significance. God did not only love you and me. He didn’t just love the Christian or the goody two shoes.
God loved the world! And still loves the whole world!
But what does that mean?
It means He loves everyone. From race to race, religion to religion, culture to culture, God loves the people of the world! And He doesn’t just love us. He SO loves us! There is emphasis in his love for us all.
As an outpouring of His great love for each and every single one of us, God did not spare His one and only Son from coming into the world and dying a death He did not deserve. On the contrary, God gave his ONE and ONLY Son so that whoever BELIEVES in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God’s desire is for us to have an eternal life with Him in heaven. He does not want us to suffer a spiritual death. Sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins was the only way to prevent us from dying a spiritual death and give us the opportunity to live in relationship with Him as our Father and Friend.
The gift of God’s love and salvation is ours for the taking. All we have to do is surrender our lives to Him as our Savior and open up our hearts to Him to receive the love He is forever pouring out on us.
Here are 3 ways in which we can open our hearts instead of presents this Christmas:
- Be Intentional
During the holiday season, it’s easy to go through the motions of shopping and striving to get the best gifts, the best outfits, and the best everything else. We have this urge to impress when we should have the urge to be intentional.
If we’re not careful, we can easily forget to be intentional about the true meaning of the holidays, which is to thank God for his Son Jesus and to intentionally love and appreciate our family and loved ones.
It is a mindful decision that we make each day to open up our hearts to give and receive love. Instead of focusing on the hustle and bustle this Christmas, focus on the true reason for the season: God’s outpouring of love on us through the gift of salvation through His Son.
- Humble Yourself
Christmas is not about receiving gifts or opening presents. Christmas is about giving and sharing the love of Christ with others through our hospitality. Rather than expecting gifts from people or high-class service, we should humble ourselves by freely giving with no expectations.
Humbling ourselves will open our hearts to remember the true meaning of Christmas. We would not be where we are without God’s unconditional love. We are humbled by His gifts of love, joy, peace, and purpose in our lives that we have done nothing to deserve. When we open our hearts in humility, we begin to overflow in the goodness of God’s love.
It is only from a place of humility that we can truly receive all that God has for us, and it is from that place that we also freely give to others.
- Show Gratitude
A grateful state of mind is good, but greater is the showcasing of gratitude. Christmas is an opportunity for us to show gratitude to others and to God. Showing gratitude for what we have (and even for what we don’t have) opens our heart to receiving the fullness of joy, peace and love that comes only through Jesus. We can show gratitude for all God has done in our lives by being a blessing to others just as He has so blessed us.
My hope and prayer is that we would learn to open our hearts throughout the year, and not just during the holidays. Jesus is the reason for the season. He is the reason for every season of life we find ourselves in. It’s through the varying seasons of life that God opens our hearts to make us more like Him.
Take time to open your heart before opening presents this Christmas.
Praying for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you and your family! I know God has many blessings in store.
Let’s chat: In what way listed above can you open your heart this holiday season? (comment below)