By now, the warm glow of Christmas is fading, and our day-to-day routines are returning. There are decorations to be put away, bills to pay, and pounds to lose. And then there’s those pesky resolutions that seem to be an exercise in futility.
During the Christmas season this year, I fell in love with an old song that has been around for years. Yet I never paid attention to it before. In it, Elvis asks, “Why can’t every day be like Christmas?”
It seems that we have become addicted to the fear, chaos, hostility, and discontent that dominates our society. And those things are in direct conflict with the hope, peace, love, and joy that we celebrate at Christmas—or at least pretend to.
So how do we move even a little closer to making the ideals of hope, peace, love, and joy relevant and noticeable all year? How do we break the stranglehold of fear, chaos, hostility, and discontent that is literally draining the life and vitality out of us?
I believe the only way is to readjust our focus.
At least superficially, at Christmas there is a focus on Christ. I know that focus is not at all what it should be. But at least it is there at some level. I mean you can’t even say the word Christmas without some level of acknowledgment that the holiday celebrates the birth of Christ.
Although there are many who try.
Just imagine in your mind that original nativity scene where every eye was intently focused on the Savior. And then compare that to the focus that you see in our world every day.
So, it is that focus on Christ that springs forth the ideals of hope, peace, love, and joy. That’s where those things come from. They were not invented by some product development team somewhere. They are not marketing slogans. They are real attributes and they come from and through Christ.
And they require a focus on Christ.
The only way we will ever see the rest of our year remotely resemble the spirit of Christmas is if we readjust our focus toward Christ all year.
FOCUS ON CHRIST THE SAVIOR
There is a wise old saying that the best place to start is at the beginning. And the beginning point for our focus on Christ must be on Him as our Savior. That’s what the season we just celebrated was all about. Until we have directed our focus to Jesus as our Savior, the rest doesn’t work.
And that focus requires us to have a genuine belief that Jesus died on the cross to accomplish the complete forgiveness of our sins. We don’t have to understand it, but we must believe it.
So if you don’t yet have that full belief, stop now and ask God to bring you to that tipping point of faith. Ask Him to draw you in His direction and then cooperate with Him in the process. And know that there are those who are willing to help you as you seek that tipping point of faith.
FOCUS ON CHRIST AS LORD
We often hear the descriptions “Lord” and “Savior” used together, but they actually describe two different relationships. We’ve already talked about Christ as Savior and the fact that salvation is solely dependent on the grace God granted to us upon faith in Jesus.
But our focus on Christ as Lord is a willingness to align our hearts and minds with His heart and mind. It is a process that lasts a lifetime. It involves seeking to understand His will and ways, then aligning with them.
It follows faith because it requires faith. But it should be a natural progression for us once we recognize the fact that Christ gave His life for us. Again, there is help available to you for this journey.
FOCUS ON CHRIST THE TEACHER
If we are to learn the will and ways of Christ and align with them, we will need a focus on Christ the Teacher. Fortunately, we have the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Bible that give us His direct teachings both by word and example.
And then we have the remainder of what we call the New Testament. These books were written by those who had been directly taught by Christ Himself and delegated by Him to take His message forward.
So we have abundant access to the teachings of Christ. But those teachings are of little value to us if we are not actively accessing them and seeking what God is saying to us through those words. And again I repeat, there is an abundance of help available to you as you seek to learn.
Before we go, let me share four practical suggestions based on instructions that I find in 1 Peter chapter 2 in my Bible that might in some small way make our regular days just a tad more like Christmas. I am purposely not giving you the related verse numbers in hopes that you might seek to find them yourself as you focus on Christ:
1. Move from fear to hope by seeking to find your identity in Christ as opposed to your current obsession with finding your identity in politics.
2. Move from chaos to peace by following examples in the life of Jesus.
3. Move from hostility to love by getting rid of unkind words, attitudes, and actions.
4. Move from discontent to joyful by discovering and living the life God has called each of us personally to live
Hope peace, love, and joy . . .
They aren’t meant just for Christmas.