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Don’t forget Jesus this Christmas

The Nativity scene at Niederman Family Farm in Liberty Township, Ohio is part of a larger display which includes approximately one million Christmas lights. | (Photo: Courtesy of Niederman Family Farm)

Imagine today is your birthday (and for some of you, perhaps it really is). Let’s just say your family and friends are throwing you a huge party. Not just any party, I’m talking about the party of all parties. Everyone you know and love will be there, along with the biggest cake you’ve ever seen and more presents than you could even count. Your name is strung in lights on the outside of the house, they have photos of you everywhere (did you just cringe?), and they even recorded songs all about you to play on repeat. 

There’s just one problem. Somehow, in all the planning and decorating, they forgot to invite you!

Thinking it was just a small oversight, you showed up anyways. Unfortunately, most people were so preoccupied by the loud music and other guests that they didn’t hear you at the door. You banged louder and louder on the door, yet still, they continued to carry on without you. Suddenly, someone saw you. You continued to wait, but still no one ever let you in. What you couldn’t hear from the other side of the door was the person saying, “Just ignore him. He’ll eventually get tired of knocking and go away!”  

This is a picture of Christmas for many today. We string our lights and trim our Pinterest-perfect trees. We fight traffic and crowds to buy gifts at busy department stores as we hurry around to holiday parties, running all over town like a bunch of crazy people. Amidst all of this, how often do we really stop to think about the One this day truly honors? Not nearly as often as we should, I can tell you that for sure. I heard about a little boy who prayed, “Lord, thank you for sending your only forgotten Son!” Of course, the little boy meant to say begotten Son, not forgotten. Unfortunately, however, the reality for many is that Christmas is a time where Jesus is neglected, disregarded, and intentionally ignored.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking all the festivities and traditions of the Christmas season, and certainly not the parties. I participate in all of these things myself and enjoy most all of it, but it sure is easy to miss out on the meaning of Christmas, isn’t it? 

So, why is it so easy for us to get distracted? Even for well-intentioned Christians?

We miss out on Jesus when non-essentials displace essentials. When our schedules are filled to the brim with activities, it doesn’t leave much wiggle room for quiet contemplation, prayer or Bible study. The best way to fight the temptation of choosing activity over time with Jesus is to simply spend time with Him! Prioritize this by building it into the very fabric and foundations of your Christmastime traditions. 

If you do, you will find that nothing, not even the gifts under your tree, can compare to spending time in the presence of Jesus. 

Don’t lose sight of Him this Christmas—He is the honored guest, after all. 

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, with campuses in Riverside and Irvine, California.

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