December 14, 2011
The holidays are here again. It’s the season when many of us spend more time with family and friends than any other time of year. As I was thinking about Christmas and family, I was reminded of the best Christmas movie of all time (in my opinion),Christmas Vacation.
If you remember the movie, Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) brings his family to stay with his brother-in-law Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and the Griswold family. Eddie ends up wreaking havoc on the entire family with good Christmas intentions. But between pouring his septic tank into the Griswold’s gutter and kidnapping Clark’s boss, Eddie’s presence ends up doing more harm than good.
Eddie left a mark on the Griswold family. And despite his best intentions, it was not a good mark. As we get closer to Christmas, I’ve been thinking about what kind of mark I’ll leave on the family and friends I spend time with over the holidays. Will they think of me as being Christ-like . . . or nothing like the Jesus I profess?
Christmas Tree Time
This past weekend I made a trip to buy our family Christmas tree. After finding the perfect tree (not quite a Griswold tree, but still pretty great), the man at the lot strapped it to the top of my car and I drove off. By the time I got to my neighborhood, I had forgotten I was even driving with a tree on top of my car. That is, until I passed a man in a car who pointed at my roof and mouthed, “Whoa!”
Since I had a gigantic Christmas tree on top of my car, there was something that looked different about me from the other cars driving around. As Christians, shouldn’t our lives look different from those around us that may not know Christ?
Light of The World
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” I’m not saying we should be different like Cousin Eddie, far from it! But since we’ve been shown so much love, grace and compassion from our Savior, shouldn’t we be known for being loving, gracious and compassionate to those around us?
So what are some practical things you can do to be more like Christ this Christmas? Do you get easily aggravated with certain family members during the holidays? Maybe you can show Christ by excercising patience and kindness to those that usually annoy you the most. Is there a relative that you are holding a grudge against? Maybe showing Christ to them means swallowing your pride, genuinely forgiving them, and letting go of whatever wrong they have done to you.
So often I end up just waiting for my turn to talk instead of really listening and engaging someone about what is going on in their life. Maybe it’s as simple as asking people thoughtful questions about themselves and engaging with them about what’s going on with them.
You may not have a deep, spiritual conversation about the love of Christ over Christmas dinner with non-believers, but you may have chances to show His love to people who don’t know Jesus. Dr. J. Vernon McGee once said, “You’re a preacher whether you know it or not, and you’re preaching with your life.”
With that in mind, I’ve begun praying for the people I’ll spend time with this Christmas who may not know Jesus.
Because just like Cousin Eddie, we all leave impressions on people, but hopefully the mark we leave will be the impression of Christ. So this holiday season, live like there’s something different about you . . . because there is.
How will you show the love of Christ this Christmas season?