Bringing Christ Back into Christmas

It starts earlier and earlier every year, the hype and commercialism. Christmas stuff and Halloween gore side-by-side in stores. Ads, articles, and movies all at work to make us think we’re missing out on the perfect Christmas.

The search for the perfect celebration can make Christmas a frenzy of stress and rush. The exhaustion of finding the perfect gifts. The fatigue of preparing the finest meal. And many would love to get off the merry-go-round but don’t know how.

So I’m about to suggest a novel idea, or one that was novel to me in any case! 😉 Let’s go back in time and travel with Mary and Joseph on their Bethlehem trek.

Journey with Mary and Joseph

That poor couple. They’d made all their preparations. Midwife engaged, grandmother at hand. Swaddling clothes and warm blankets folded and ready. And Joseph, no doubt, had crafted the finest cradle of his carpentry career! All was in readiness.

Until they had that Bethlehem journey thrust upon them. What if she gave birth on the road? What if they didn’t have enough water? What if something went wrong?

Had she packed enough swaddling clothes and warm wraps for the babe? And the knife and string for tying off the umbilical cord? Joseph might need them. Such thoughts likely assailed their minds while descending into the Jezreel Valley.

But what about their hearts? How were they preparing them for the monumental event about to occur? What can we learn from them about preparing our hearts for Christ? How can we make more room for him in our hearts and lives?

Preparing our hearts for Christmas

Lessons from Mary and Joseph on preparing our hearts for Christ this holiday season.

1. Slow Down

Take time to remember the reason for the season.

Had Mary been home, she likely would have busied herself with last-minute preparations. Making everything just right for the child’s birth. Like we do. Cleaning and fixing, trying to create an ideal holiday. With hardly any time for contemplation.

But as things were all they could do was trudge along for four or seven tedious days. An arduous 98 mile journey, especially for a woman in Mary’s condition. And there was nothing to do. Nothing to do but walk or ride.

Perhaps it was God’s plan to force them to slow down and focus on what was of importance. To focus on what HE was doing. And to give them plenty of time for prayer, contemplation, and heart preparation.

Let this be a cue for us too. We often get so busy that we lose sight of what the holiday is all about. Let’s take time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, and how we should keep it in our lives.

2. Keep the story uppermost in our thoughts

Relive the wonder and joy of that first Christmas.

We don’t know if Mary and Joseph grasped the full implications of Jesus’ birth. But we can be sure that their minds replayed the angels’ words and Mary’s visit to Elizabeth over and over. We also know they had long awaited the Messiah’s arrival. There was no doubt little else on their minds.

We can’t share the same anticipation as them. But we can relive the wonder and joy of that first Christmas. By replaying this miraculous event over and over in our minds. Read the Nativity stories in the 1st and 2nd chapters of Matthew and Luke. Focus on who Christ is and why he came. Let it live in your heart.

3. Focus on what we have, not on what we’d like

Keep your heart focused on God’s promises, and your eyes on what’s important.

Mary and Joseph were humans. Joseph was a normal father who wanted the best for his family, not a stable filled with smelly animals. But rather than wishing for what they didn’t have, he concentrated on the more critical things. Soft hay for Mary and the baby. Hot water, a warm fire and nourishing food.

Mary lacked most of the normal comforts, perhaps even a woman to help during her difficult hour. But labor was upon her. No time to pine for what she didn’t have. So I’m sure she kept her heart centered on God’s promises, looking forward with peace and joy.

Your own Christmas

Are you tempted to wish for what you don’t have? Having all your loved ones around you, or more money to provide a fine holiday? The ideal of creating the perfect Christmas for everyone seems ludicrous. And in all the chaos, you’ve lost sight of its true meaning.

Or are your greatest desires those of having food on the table, and someone, anyone to share your day with? And the mere thought of Christmas depresses you.

I have good news for you.

Stop searching for the perfect Christmas – because it happened over 2000 years ago.

With Mary and Joseph in the village of Bethlehem. Far from loved ones. With no place to call home. And lacking most of the material comforts. But even without all those things it was flawless in every way.

And you can have the same perfect Christmas too.

Let the true meaning of Christmas take root in your heart. Slow down and relive the wonder and joy of Immanuel, God with us. Let it restore your joy and wonder of Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all from Italy!

All images from – Nativity figurines by Hudsoncrafted | Travel to Bethlehem by Edge Group – Lion Hudson, education & ministry use only, CC BY NC ND | Jesus’ birth by, all rights reserved, educational use only.

6 thoughts on “Bringing Christ Back into Christmas

  1. Thank you for the reminder of where our focus needs to be as we prepare for the first coming of Jesus. May the Lord make us all pause and ponder the true meaning of Christmas.


    1. Amen, Karen! It’s so easy in the hustle and bustle of life to forget that Christ is always calling us to prepare our hearts. If only we could remember that and truly live in constant readiness for his presence – both now and in the future!


  2. To focus on what we have is to realize the perfections we already enjoy. Praise God for every perfect gift he provides (James 1:17)! Thank you, Sheila, for focusing our attention where it belongs.


    1. You’re so right, Nancy! We really do so easily lose sight of how much we already have, how much God has provided, and continues to bless us with. Merry Christmas, and I pray your holiday season will be special, blessed with remembering God’s goodness to us all!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pastor Pete. I think we all need that reminder from time to time. Especially when things around us seem rather bleak. But Christmas transcends all that, and that really is something to rejoice in!!


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