4 Ways to Use the Holiday Season to Glorify God

Tradition is not sinful; in fact, it is often helpful. We must consider tradition a servant rather than master. David Crabb explains our traditions should “exist to serve the ministry of the Gospel, not the other way around.” We all have or have had traditions for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. So now, let us “work-shop” traditions to “serve the ministry of the Gospel,” instead of allowing tradition to dictate our holiday bustle. Think about these 4 challenges alongside any tradition you may have.

  1. Invite those with little or no family to join yours. Everyone has a different home life and family culture. Some people cannot imagine enjoying a Thanksgiving spread without their cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, while others cannot remember such a gathering. Is there a person in your Growth Group or office that you ought to move towards? Think about the new neighbors who just moved in across the street or the new person in the break room. Keep in mind holidays magnify loneliness and hurt, so invite them to join holidays with your family.  A sincere invitation can be the “ministry of the Gospel” most needed.
  2. Strategically disciple at gatherings. Can you think of one family member you don’t want any of your friends (especially from church) to meet? Mark Dever states in Discipling, “Discipling requires you to be willing to be watched, and then folding people into your life so that they actually do watch.” Don’t let your family hinder your obedience to make disciples. Invite them to join holidays with your family. Let them see how you deal with all the scenarios that arise when your family, large or small, gathers. Bringing your spiritual family around your earthly family will benefit both.
  3. Pause and meditate on what you are celebrating. Tables filled with food and Christmas trees with presents, while icons, are not what the celebration is all about. Think about how the holidays should help your prayer life for a couple months. Give thanks to God. I’m always struck by thanksgiving in the prayers among Christians in impoverished communities. How much more is there for you to be thankful for? The Advent of Christ is a miracle worth a month of daily prayer, filled with awestruck and amazement at God’s plan. What about communicating to our God who makes all things new? What has he restored in your life? What other areas of prayer could these holidays in reflection lead us?
  4. Speak of God often. Deuteronomy 6 says, “You shall teach [the love of the Lord] diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” What part of the day isn’t covered? I am not exhorting you to be the annoying family member, but the holidays provide easy doors to converse about loving God, obeying Him, the glory of Jesus, and much more. For those who say, “I want to be better about witnessing about Jesus,” then use these holidays as the first steps.

If the cliche is right that you shouldn’t talk about politics or religion, then we can guarantee politics will be brought up, so why not your faith? The word “holiday” comes from an Old English word literally meaning “holy day,” so brothers and sisters, may you keep these days to be such and glorify our Lord in doing so.

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