Doing December Well and Truly Celebrating our Savior!

December 1, 2016 By Pastor Dave Ryan



Doing December Well and Truly Celebrating our Savior!

December is an emotionally charged up month both for excitement and also toward  despair.  It is a month full of fun gatherings and new things and a month possibly just too full.  So how do we “do December well” that brings a genuine joy and a lasting hope without leaving us with the regrets and surprising bills in January?

Our Grace family had a great Sunday night discussion together (November 27th) and settled in on three areas to consider and work on.

Personal peace and growth -   We all have a deep need to find contentment and refreshment in our heart and souls.  The schedule, noise and expectations of the holidays can quickly distract us from our Lord’s promises and priorities and thus His joy as well (John 15:7-11).  In a month that encourages consumption seek after a contentment  and thankfulness in God’s provisions and wisdom (Philippians 4).  In a month, that encourages noise and activity, make daily time personally and in your family to seek after the Lord in His Word and in prayer (Psalm 1).

People - The joy of seeking the blessings of others -  When our Savior came, “He came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a Ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)  The constant challenge of our self nature is to see people either as means to my happiness or obstacles who stand in the way.  The temptation then is to seek to control others my way or avoid those who are bothersome.  These two desires really get ramped up even more in a season like December (think shopping).  Our Savior and the Gospel though would call us to consider others above ourselves (Philippians 2), to seek to be generous in our love and care (Prov. 11:25; I Timothy 6:17-20), and to seek to intentionally and skillfully make the truth of Christ’s coming and salvation known to all.  Consider how we can make our homes and hearts more immersed in the genuine story of the Gospel and Jesus’ advent more so than the endless myths and stories of a holiday season.  If we are to lead others to joy, which story will lead them to deal with their sin and to find redemption and transformation from God?   (Rudolph and Frosty are fine and fun stories, but in the end they can do nothing for our eternity!)

Possessions and Gifts -  Tools for worship and the joy of others-  Quite often, we will hear a story of the “saving of Christmas” through the purchase of some great gift, but we know that no item or sum of money can draw us to the joy of knowing God.  So as we head into December use funds and resources as a good tool, but use them within the limits of what you can afford.  This blows many of the marketing aspirations for your shopping, but quality and value is not determined by a dollar amount.  Gifts should be used not as a means of self-promotion or protection from personal guilt, but as a means of strategic blessing to those God has directed.  Some considerations in our spending would be:

  • Can I afford this with my other bills, debts and obligations?
  • Have I been faithful in my sacrificial giving to the Lord and His Work.?
  • Is this gift/purchase going to help or hinder the greater work of the Gospel?

Now it is your turn~  What is your plan for December?

  1. Personal- How will I(we) grow in our joy and walk with Christ?

 

  1. People - How will we care for others and exalt Christ over ourselves with others?

 

  1. Possessions - What plans are you working on to control and maximize your spending this month?

 

The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.  Luke 19:10

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