by: Allen Domelle
It’s that wonderful time of the year when we stop to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. I love this time of the year for many reasons. I love hearing the Christmas music in public places, places that would normally never say anything about Christ publicly play songs that talk of Him. I love the Christmas lights at night that remind me that Christians are the light of the world. I love the time of families coming together and sharing gifts with each other. I love it that people are more giving to the poor during this time of the year than they are at any other time. It is truly a wonderful time of the year.
There is no doubt that the first Christmas was nothing like it is today. In fact, when Jesus was born, there was no place but a manger for the baby to sleep in. Joseph and Mary didn’t have the best hotel prepared for them; instead, they only had a place to sleep in a stable. When Jesus was born, the only celebratory announcement that was made came from an angel. The angel said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:11-14)
There is one part of the announcement which people focus upon, “…on earth peace, good will toward men.” There is no doubt that people desire peace on Earth. Isaiah 9:6 tells us that Jesus would be the “Prince of Peace.” There is little doubt in my mind that one of the reasons people reject Jesus Christ is because they were expecting Him to literally give peace during His first coming. Jesus did come to give peace, but the peace He gave was for one’s eternity. Jesus did give peace, but man doesn’t want to accept Him as the “Prince of Peace.” The sole reason anyone does not have peace in their life is because they have not accepted the Prince of Peace as their Saviour. Without Christ, you will never experience the peace you desire.
I know there are many who truly do not look forward to this Christmas Day because they know there will be no peace. The peace I’m talking about is not the peace that salvation brings, but the peace between members of the family. This Christmas Day many will have family and friends over, but by the end of the day the peace will turn into tension, and sadly in some cases, fighting. A time that is to be filled with joy and “good will toward men” will turn into ill will for some. I believe in this story you will find some simple things from the birth of Christ that will help you to have a peaceful day with family and friends. These things will work throughout the year if you will practice them daily.
1. Keep Christ as the center of every relationship.
Christ is the Prince of Peace, and if you are going to have peace with people then you are going to have to keep the One Who gives peace as the center of each relationship. By keeping Christ as the focal point of the day you will keep yourself in check. When you start the Christmas morning, spend time reading the Word of God. Before you open the presents, read the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Before you eat the Christmas meal, ask each person what the birth of Christ means to them. This will help you to keep Christ as the center of your day.
2. Be willing to sacrifice so others can enjoy the day.
If you make Christmas all about you and what you want, then you will quickly find that peace will not be on Earth that day. There is no peace when selfishness is present. Jesus came to sacrifice Himself, and that is why He is able to give peace. You are going to have to be willing to give up your will so that others can enjoy doing what they want to do. It won’t be easy because with the passing of the presents we can become very self focused. Don’t let that happen to you. If you play games throughout the day, then switch up games so that all can enjoy doing what they want to do. The one who will enjoy Christmas Day the most will be the one who decides to sacrifice their own will so that others can do what they want to do. Don’t be demanding in having to have your way. Sacrifice your will, and you will find there can be peace with everyone.
3. Keep your expectations low and everything you get will be a blessing.
Many people will be disappointed this Christmas Day because they will not get what they want. The best way to keep from becoming disappointed is not to expect anything, and everything will be a bonus. Why do you think you deserve that one present? Truthfully, most people already have enough, but Christmas just seems to add to our selfish coffers. I’m not against giving gifts, but keep your expectations low. If you don’t expect anything, then you will have a peaceful day because everything you received was something more than you expected.
The one purpose of Jesus coming to Earth was to reconcile the world to God. Though Jesus had to pay for the sins of the world, He also had to be willing to overlook their weaknesses until He paid for their sins. Part of bringing peace to the sinner is accepting the sinner as they are. If you are going to have peace with those who come to visit you this Christmas season, then you are going to have to overlook their weaknesses and accept them for who they are. Don’t try to put everyone into your mold, and simply accept them for who they are.
5. Purposely do good will to others.
It was the good will of God for Jesus to be sent to Earth. It was the good will of Jesus Christ to be willing to come to Earth. It was His good will of giving of Himself that brought peace to man. One of the ways you are going to have peace with everyone this Christmas season is to try to do good for others. Don’t let the fray of shopping and wrapping presents cause you to get so uptight that you become edgy with people. Remember, this is truly about being good to others. Make it your goal to do something good for those you are around every day. Make it your goal to try and bring cheer to someone’s day. Decide to be a good will ambassador for Christ and help those whom He brings along your way.
6. Love people the way they are and not the way you want them to be.
Christmas Day is not the day to start preaching your sermons to the family. When Jesus started His ministry, He took the disciples from where they were and grew them. He didn’t force them into His mold, but He discipled them and loved them until they grew into His image. Preaching at your family because they don’t serve God the same way you do will only cause strife. Let the Holy Spirit do the work in their heart while you are simply a good testimony for Him. Love them for who they are, for that is how Jesus loved us. Jesus didn’t love us at our best, but He loved us and continues to love us at our worst. You will not have a peaceful Christmas Day if the only way you can love people is if they are just like you. Enjoy the day with family and love them the way they are. God will do the work on the heart that you cannot do.
7. Keep a spiritual atmosphere throughout the day.
The whole purpose of Christmas is Christ. Christmas Day should be a spiritual day. Don’t miss church just because the midweek service falls on Christmas Eve. Don’t throw your spirituality out the window and do things you normally would not do. Be sure what you watch is something that would be glorifying to God. If you want to have a heart that is at peace after Christmas Day, then do right before and during the day.
Yes, Jesus came to give us peace on Earth, but having peace on Earth doesn’t always mean we will have peace in our house. If you will follow the examples of how Jesus gave peace on Earth and employ them into your Christmas Day routine, you will find that you will be able to be at peace with the family and friends you entertain throughout the day.
Allen Domelle is the editor of the Old Paths Journal which is more than just a Christian’s publication. It is an excellent place to learn how today’s headlines will forge tomorrow’s laws and statutes. Keep yourself in tune with what is happening around the world, as well as in your own backyard with our daily updates and devotionals.