If your house is anything like ours, the process of de-decorating Christmas and putting it away is an emotional one. We love Christmas! We love the music, decorations, sweet treats, and homemade cinnamon rolls that are ONLY made on Christmas Eve. Then there’s the joy of watching someone else open the present you got them, anticipating their surprise when you remembered something they’d likely forgotten about. It’s almost a little sappy putting Christmas away. 

But do we have to “put” Christmas away?

I say no…And I’m not talking about all the festivities. Christmas has the unique power to draw our minds onto Jesus and away from ourselves. We serve each other more. We treat each other better. We’re more patient with each other, bearing with each other. We’re more forgiving and more loving. Why is this? It’s because we’re focused more on Jesus than ourselves.  

That’s what Christmas does and is what we’re to do each day that’s not in the Christmas season. So what if we physically put Christmas away but not the focus? What would that change? Would the tension after work melt instead of fuel into an argument? Would we resist the temptation to indulge in something we shouldn’t because we think about Jesus and others more than ourselves?

I think so…

Here’s the real question: what if we started the new year off by admitting it’s not about us? What if we started living the new year for the glory of Jesus? I wonder if that’s what Paul meant in his first letter to the church in Corinth.  

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God

Living like this happens at Christmas if you stop and consider it. We shift focus in December because of Jesus. We live more “Other-Oriented” instead of “Self-Oriented”. We refocus and readjust our paradigm so it’s more aligned with what we’re supposed to experience, not just at Christmas but every day of our lives. 

But we’re not on autopilot. This doesn’t happen by itself. Think about all the stuff I mentioned about Christmas. None of that happens without doing something. It takes making plans to succeed. We planned gifts. We planned dinners. We scheduled visiting times. We made arrangements for games to be played and cinnamon rolls to be made. None of that happens by accident. 

And neither does 1 Corinthians 10:31. 

So, what’s my bottom line? It’s simply this: even the most simple and mundane tasks in all our lives must be molded by the desire for God’s glory. And when that’s the focus, much like in December, our attention to others grows in intensity and passion. We find that the unnatural starts to feel more natural. In other words, we think about others more and ourselves less. That’s a God thing, not a normal human thing.I fully believe that God is very much interested in how we treat each other. There’s a world watching, and we are responsible for showing them Jesus. What better way to show them Jesus than keeping our focus on Jesus and His grace in our lives so that His grace can splash out of us and be grace for others. 

What about some practical applications?  Here are a few to get us all started!

  • Complain Less. Praise more.
  • Be an encourager
  • Put down the phone
  • Look for the positives
  • Celebrate the small wins
  • Make time to listen (this is done by scheduling better)
  • Make time to help (this is done by scheduling better)
  • Make time for kindness (you get the idea)
  • Give more, take less
  • Start serving and cultivate a servant’s heart

Yes, I’ll still be sappy as I take down the decorations. But oh what joy to be a grace bearer! I have the honor of giving grace!  And so do you! And that makes my heart happy and full!

You are loved!