How to survive Christmas

Published 4:24 pm Monday, December 17, 2018

By Roger Campbell

I love Christmas.

In spite of all the commercialism of this holy event, I’m thrilled that two thousand years after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem there’s still public recognition that this miraculous event took place.  A week after the celebration, we’ll break out our new calendars with which we’ll acknowledge this miracle every day of the year.

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I love the traditions of Christmas: the evergreens that remind me that God is eternal

and gives everlasting life, the lights that speak of our Lord bringing light to a dark world, even the gift giving that has its roots in the giving of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn king by the wise men who came from the east following a star.

And I especially love the carols of Christmas.  What a special mood they create, sounding their moving messages in crowded shopping places, on streets, in churches, cars and homes, as radio stations discover the great music of the joyful season!

Admittedly, there are some hazards in the Christmas rush: irritability, jangled nerves, fatigue and even the danger of losing perspective of the real reason for the season.

How can we keep focused on the One who was born in a quiet stable in Bethlehem while enduring the push of noisy shoppers as we fulfill our Christmas customs?

We must take time to be alone with the one whose birthday we celebrate.  Unless we  do this, we will become victims of the barrenness of a busy season.

Dr. Tony Evans, President of The Urban Alternative and pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, wisely wrote: “Without my personal time with God, I operate in tension, not in peace. That’s why I’m trying to get back to the mindset

that without Him I can do nothing.  It’s easy to forget.”

Dorothy Buitendyk, who spent many years caring for people with serious illnesses, prayerfully expressed her need for quiet times as follows:

“Father, too long I have pushed you to the periphery of my life.  Somehow the intimacy of our communion got crowded out by my feverish activities.  Catching sips of fellowship with You on the run depleted my inner resources.  When pressures mounted, my backlog of your virtues was drained.  I need a refill Lord – a slow recharge, time to bask in Your presence – time to soak up until I’m saturated with you.”

Do you need recharging too?

Here are a few suggestions for surviving Christmas:

Start your day with an open Bible and an open heart.

Take time to give thanks for God’s love and the blessings of family members and friends who mean so much during this special season.  Their presence is more important than your presents.

Appreciate the wonder of the manger birth in Bethlehem that fulfilled the promises of the prophets given long ago.  Cherish the multiplied blessings of the past year that God has given to us all.

Don’t lose them in a mega-mall.