10 Commandments for Christmas (Part One)

jesus_mangerRecently I’ve been studying the Ten Commandments and trying to apply them to my 21st century world. Yet as the holidays approached, I faced with a whole new set of decisions. How could I apply the Ten Commandments to my busy American Christmas season? For the next few weeks, we’ll explore the 10 commandments from the perspective of Christmas. I hope it’s an inspiring journey.

Commandment 1: Worship God alone

On the surface, this seemed obvious. Believers don’t worship other things, do they? Yet as I looked at my life and the lives of those around me (mostly believers, by the way), I wondered if the saying, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” is really true for many of us. We get so busy with holiday plans, parties, and projects that we often forget to rejoice in the profound truth that the God of the heavens came down to earth…for us!

When my children were young, we had little money for our holiday endeavors, so we kept things much simpler. Besides, I tried hard to be intentional about imparting the true meaning of Christmas to them. So each evening of Advent we centered our hearts on the coming of the Savior. We gathered in front of the manger and talked about His birth. We took time to worship God.

But after they left the nest, it was all too easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget to worship the Prince of Peace. I realized that it simply takes intentionality to pull away from the holiday chaos and take some time to worship Him every day. Since then, I’ve tried to make this an important cornerstone of my Christmas season.

Commandment 2: Don’t make idols

Of course we wouldn’t make idols! we all think with an heir of dignity and pride. But how do we address Santa and all the secular symbols so pervasive in our world today? The topic of Santa can be controversial, and every family must decide how they are going to handle such Christmas traditions. Yet as believers we should never let Santa become more of a focus than the Babe in the manger.

When my children were young, I went a little overboard. Because my parents placed such importance on Santa coming, even to the point of stomping around the attic as if it were Santa on the roof, I went to the opposite extreme and forbade any reflection of the man in the red suit. As my children grew and I saw how other families made Santa a fun tradition yet still kept Christ in Christmas, I relaxed my legalistic attitude and allowed some Santa into our holidays. But I tried to keep it all in a proper perspective, so that the posture of my heart would always keep secular symbols from becoming idols.


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