Celebrating Christ Beyond Holiday Tradition
The holiday season is HERE, and Christmas is just a few weeks away! Growing up, the award for 'Mercedes' favorite holiday', hands down, went to Christmas. I can remember my family and I assembled the prickly, white faux tree we used every year. My father and brother managed the entire operation. Between sneaking candy out of the Christmas stockings hanging on the wall, when I wasn't supposed to (don't you dare judge me), I'd help as their assistant.
The tree, the bright-colored lights, the creamy eggnog, discount sales at the mall -- there are just TOO MANY reasons to love this time of year! As Believers, we use December 25th to celebrate the mortal birth of the greatest gift ever given to us:
However, to keep it real, there's more going on behind-the-scenes!
'Christ-follower' or not, this time of year brings something out of all of us.
Sweet, nostalgic thoughts of your childhood?
Excitement to find the right gift for your loved ones?
A chance to wear your new holiday outfit?
What does the Christmas season bring out of you?
While you're decorating your tree, hanging up your lights, and adjusting the reef on your door, ask yourself: What am I doing, other than waiting for Christmas to come, to celebrate the only gift that really matters?
If we aren't careful, we can allow the way we're celebrating to replace the One we're celebrating.
The greatest gift ever given to us came in the form of a baby -- one that grew up into the Man that would not only live a sinless life, but offer that sinless life as a sacrifice on the Cross. He died on that Cross for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus now lives, rules, and reigns on the right-hand side of God, the Father, in Heaven.
THIS is the reason why we celebrate Christmas: He was born with a mission that He actually fulfilled. This should be the core of what we celebrate all (clap) of (clap) the (clap) time (clap).
Let's use this week (and the start of this new month) to think beyond the distractions the world is ready to throw at us (like the infamous santa, elaborate department store decor, shopping sales, the pressure of bringing your bae home to meet the family, etc.), and create NEW ways to celebrate the gift of receiving a Savior this Christmas...
What's your favorite thing about the Christmas season? Why?
Turning To The Word
Meditate on Jeremiah 17:10, where God says, "I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways; according to the fruit of his doings." What are we doing this holiday season to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ while we are on this earth?
Through this blog and here at CLCC Ministries, we've spent the last two weeks cultivating our Spiritual fruits and focusing on being GRATEFUL to what God has done for us. NOW is the time to activate the Holy Spirit through our actions by finding ways to bless others.
Working The Word
Up for a challenge? Use this December to be the hands and feet of Christ through thanksgiving, servitude, and these fresh ideas:
Ditch the gift giving only on the 25th, and use ALL of December to share surprises, homemade gifts and acts of random kindness to the ones you love! Making them breakfast in bed, running an errand with them, paying one of their bills -- the ways you can bless someone else are endless! Sprinkle these blessings throughout the month, and keep it going in the months to come...
Who started the tradition of sending cards to family members during the holiday season? Why not send cards throughout the year?
Here's an idea:
1. Take an adorable pic of you with your family.
3. Write a hand-written, personalized message in each card, and send at least one card out to a loved one every month.
Spread love, and those family smiles, all year long!
God loves a thankful heart! Are you looking for another way to show your gratitude besides the typical "Lord, I thank you for ____" prayer?
Try this: Start writing down the things God does for you (i.e. answering a particular prayer request, healing you from an ailment, delivering a friend, etc.) on a calendar. Keep the calendar to celebrate those blessings annually, making it a FAITH-holiday (hence the term, F-oliday).
In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us that when we give in secret, our Father in Heaven (who sees and knows all things) will reward us in Heaven. Invest in your Heavenly account by giving anonymous donations (money and/or another resource, like clothing or non-perishable foods) to your local hospital, community center, or another non-profit.
We like to practice what we preach! We are blessing our NARROWGATING blog readers with a gift this entire week (until next Wednesday, 12/8/2021). Go to the CLCC BOOKSTORE in-person, this Sunday 12/5, and give a friendly staff member this code for your FREE gift ---->
Sow Your Time
When you hear 'tithes & offering', do you think of giving (at least) 10% of your money?
A question I've heard is, "what if I don't have a job?" Whether you're employed or not, you're still in a position to tithe into the Kingdom. How? Tithe your TIME and effort by volunteering at a soup kitchen, senior citizen home, or your church. Be intentional about blessing others BEYOND the holiday season by scheduling your service on a day that doesn't fall on a holiday or holiday weekend.
What if we didn't wait until December to be as intentional as we are during the Christmas season?
Just think of how you'll feel next December, realizing you went beyond holiday tradition by celebrating Jesus, and His love, all year long...
Mercedes Saintfleur is a devoted wife, mother of three beautiful girls, and an active member at Changing Lives Christian Center. Within the walls, she contributes to the Dance, Media, and Weddings & Events ministries. Beyond the walls, she's an entrepreneur and a professional in the Aviation Industry.
Utilizing honesty, open discussion, and transparency, she uses her experiences, commitment to God, and the potent teachings of Pastor Paul B. Mitchell to implement the Word, and walk the narrow path of Christ...
Thank you for joining us this week!
Look out for a NEW TOPIC next week!
Be sure to join Pastor Paul B. Mitchell, and the entire CLCC Church Family, tonight at 8 pm for CHRISTIAN BIBLE TEACHING by clicking the link below:
Until then, be safe, be blessed, and be narrow...
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