Christmas time presents a lot of activity in this world and in the United States. You have certain family and work obligations and travel. It isn’t the same routine. As these different occupations fly at you, your eyes observing and mind appropriating, remember to live by faith and not by sight. The plan of the kingdom of Jesus Christ still marches on. Eternal souls still hang in the balance. God’s Word is still God’s Word and His will is still His will. A nice prayer is the one in Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” When there is a lot to see, we can tend to live by sight and not by faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. Living by faith is living according to God’s Word – just believing Him, so loving Him and doing what He says. That still is God’s plan despite the flurry around you. It never stops being that, and these days at the end of the year are part of that life of faith. They can provide a unique opportunity of living by faith because you are out of your normal routine. You have some different people and different situations to apply the Word of God. This is being faithful to God. He will be faithful to you. He will sustain you and He will continue saving and sanctifying you. Set Him apart in your heart and be ready for Him.
What are the traps in this season? I’m going to suggest some possibilities, so that we can have as good a season as we can.
First, vow to put God ahead of everything at this time of the year. There is the temptation to think about yourself and things. Grow spiritually. Don’t stagnate.
Second, don’t be too lazy. Get some rest, sure, but get something profitable done so that it doesn’t seem like a waste. Perhaps you could think of a couple of reasonable projects. This is part of your life too, and God isn’t the One who turned December into what it is. December still counts.
Third, be careful about expectations. December is one of the most depressing times of the year for many, especially right afterwards. Unmet expectations is the cause of discontent, discouragement, bitterness, and some other form of anger. If you put the expectations on yourself and not on others, you’ll be fine.
Fourth, minister to others. Help someone else out. Say an encouraging Word. Preach the gospel to someone. Help build someone up. Give someone else a break. Don’t expect anything in return. Do it out of love, whatever it is.
Christmas time will be great for you on purpose. “So teach us to number our days” (Psalm 90:12).
One request in the Lord’s model prayer with which He instructs us to pray is “Thy will be done.” Scripture is not mysterious when it comes to the will of God. God wants His will to be known. He wants us to do it. If you take all the passages that say, “the will of God,” and then do them, I am proposing to you that you will do the will of God, that you will be in the will of God. This isn’t a mystery. Some of what God has for you is a liberty for you. You have liberty to do certain things that are not taught in scripture. Later when the founding fathers wrote the United States Constitution, they did something like that. Whatever power was not delegated to the federal government was reserved for the states. This is the 10th amendment. Whatever is not spoken in scripture either through precept or principle are liberties. Certainly, we are guided in our liberties. You can do what you will within the principles that guide the liberties. For instance, everything is to the glory of God. You don’t have liberty to do something you want for your own glory. However, God’s will is found in scripture. It is His will for you to receive Jesus Christ, that is to be saved. God is not willing that any should perish. Your sanctification and giving of thanks are both the will of God, Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5. Suffering for well doing is God’s will in 1 Peter 3. Look at Scripture for God’s will.
When you look at the calendar for the year, you can see some strategy as it relates to the will of God for a church and for you in the church. During certain times of the year, our church and you are better off with ministry that is more family and personal, those right around you. It’s a different type of personal evangelism. You talk to people you know about subjects that are related to salvation—thanksgiving to God and then the birth of Christ, the Messiah, the Savior comes to the world to seek and to save them that are lost. You can send tracts to relatives, talk about the Lord in phone calls. It is also a special time of ministry, of doing God’s work, building people up, and doing discipleship. The weather isn’t conducive sometimes and people have different schedules. We can spend time in helping people become more obedient to God. They can read and study their Bible, pray. There are a lot of possible distractions in this season, one that is supposed to be about the Lord. It’s a matter of thinking different. It can be a time of great Christian growth instead of a wasted time. We can focus and prioritize on what is eternal in value. What I’m writing here is the way the calendar pace presents itself in this time. Other parts of the calendar open for a lot of evangelism to a lot of people. This is one where we spend time with individual people.