We’ve been intentionally preparing during this season of Advent for the celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. We’ve shared 10 ideas over the past two weeks for making this year a Merry Intentional Christmas (Read them here and here). Today we round out the list taking us up to and through Christmas day:
Intentionally eat: Consider the power of witness you have at every shared meal. What might happen if you were to intentionally invite Jesus to join you for dinner? What might happen if before every meal you agreed with those around the table to seek together for Christ to be made known in the breaking of the bread?
Intentionally refrain from eating: Consider one day of intentional fasting between now and Christmas. I know, there’s the office party and the neighborhood block party and the Church women’s cookie exchange…but there’s also the Christ. Fasting is not something we broadcast that we’re doing; it’s a private act of disciplined devotion between you and Christ. Consider giving the money you would have spent on three meals as a gift card to one of your homeless neighbors.
Intentionally give: With every gift you give and every gift you receive, intentionally call to mind the truth that every good and perfect gift comes into our lives from the Father above. We all want to be generous givers at Christmas but we are first called to be responsible stewards of the resources entrusted to our management. Be intentional about your personal and family budget. Does God have His tithe? If not, what are you doing spending anything on anyone else? How we give and to whom we give it is a part of our testimony as Kingdom Ambassadors. Be in the world, but be ye not of it.
Intentionally resist over spending: The advent calendar reminds you today that there are only a few days til Christmas but the radio reminds you that there are a mere days minus 1 shopping days left! Do not submit to the tyranny of consumerism. Intentionally resist overspending. You started this season with a budget and a Kingdom advancing gift-giving mentality. If you haven’t found that perfect gift then don’t buy one. Write a personal letter and express your love. Perform a genuine act of service for the other. These are gifts that in keeping with the real Spirit of Christmas. (Hint: if their love language is acts of service then an act of service is a real gift!)
Intentionally rest: On the road at a rest stop in the highway recall the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Recall the challenge others face today in getting to where they long to be for the holidays and be a human signpost on the highways of life this Christmas. Intentionally resist the seasonal tempters of rush and hurry.
Intentionally prepare: December 23 is a day of preparation – the baby is arriving any minute! Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Tomorrow is going to be a day of intentional time with people – that means that you have to get everything “else” done today. The stress you feel today will become the burden of someone else tomorrow if you don’t get done today what others are expecting of you.
Intentionally worship: Christmas eve is the day before THE day! Many families will travel today and lots of folks will be working so that others can travel, feast, and shop. Be intentional today to be a living demonstration of the Gospel to every person who serves you. No matter where you go today, people will be stressed, harried, and rushed. They have not been intentionally preparing for the arrival of Christ in the same way you have. But guess what? They canhave a transforming encounter with the Light of the World during their moment with you! Christmas is actually already here – as Christ, the risen Savior, is present in the world by the power of His Spirit in you and me!
On Christmas day get up before dawn and watch the sunrise. Before the cacophony of Christmas, let there be the prayerful acknowledgement of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Light into darkness – and then yes! Celebrate with intentional joy the advent of Christ! This is a 12 day affair – Christmas is a season, not only a day. Unwrap the gift God sends in Jesus Christ and keep unwrapping that gift every day.
Intentionally proceed from Advent into Christmas. On December 26th it’s all over, right? Wrong! December 26th is actually the 2nd day of the season of Christmas! Let’s keep being intentional as we await with great anticipation the second advent of Christ the King. We are the ambassadors of the King and the Kingdom. We bear His light into the world and we bear witness to His goodness and grace.