By Pastor Brad Heintz
Growing up, Christmas just seemed simpler. In this modern age of celebrating Christmas, everything seems busier, more crowded and less inspiring.
When I was young, I remember looking in the TV guide to see when the Charlie Brown Christmas was on TV and then making sure we didn’t miss it. I remember gathering around the family dinner table to prepare for Christmas with a word from God and prayer. I remember Christmas Eve pageants and candlelight services that couldn’t be missed. I remember not getting what we wanted, but always getting what we needed under the tree.
But that was then and this is now. Have you ever wondered if we are missing something with our modern Christmas?
I love not missing the Charlie Brown Christmas show and playing it on my DVD when it is convenient. I love that I can hit the pause button when needed. Growing up, there wasn’t a pause button on the TV remote. There wasn’t even a remote! There were no such things as DVDs, or DVRs. Live streaming was something you did on a fishing trip! I love modern technology and the pause button. I can pause a show when my teenage daughter decides to talk with me. I can pause a football game when my wife is serving dinner. I can pause…
So why aren’t we using the pause button with our modern Christmas? ‘Tis the season to add to our schedules, deal with crowds and traffic, fill to the brim our baskets, stocking and even tummies and yet, we don’t hit the pause button until we collapse. Is it time to simplify Christmas? And if it is, how do we do it so we are not swept away with the live-streaming video cast of our umpteenth Christmas gathering that shows the massive amount of gifts we don’t need or want?
Just hit the pause button!
I believe this is how we simplify Christmas, by pausing to prepare and then prioritizing to purposefully celebrate Christmas. Before we start something seasonal, take a moment to pause. Take a deep breath. Connect with God. Ask, “What does this have to do with the gift of the birth of Jesus Christ?” And if the answer is nothing, then we can prioritize by doing something that does connect with the reason for the season, Jesus.
Jesus Christ was born to give his life so we can have the greatest gift ever – a personal relationship with God that lasts into eternity. When we pause, we can thank God for the gift. We can connect with the true spirit of giving. We can simplify our modern Christmas.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
After we pause, don’t forget to hit the play button, sing the carol, give the gift and enjoy the celebration!
If you like the pause button this Christmas, just wait… there is also rewind and fast forward. But that’s for next time. This year just simplify your Christmas, pause to be inspired and celebrate His Birth!
Pastor Brad Heintz is the founding pastor of Living Word Church in Seabrook, a vibrant family-style non-denominational gathering of believers who take a pure, simple and real approach to faith and life.