flipping Christmas

Our church is boldly exploring the idea this month that Christmas can be flipped from what it's become to what we all know it "should" be. That concept in itself is not without controversy... some insist that the "real" way to celebrate Christmas is more about abstinence from the stereotypical stuff, while others maintain that you can buy stuff without making it all about the stuff.

The bottom line?

Christmas makes it possible for us to invert life as we know it. The birth of Jesus literally helps us discover how to flip from doubt to belief, obscurity to being blessed, separation to salvation and so much more. You really can uncover the special wonder of God's transforming love this Christmas... and you don't have to wait until December 24-25 to do it.

Sometimes it helps to flip your habits around. Try these on this week:
  • Let no phone call during your work day go to voicemail. You know how when you try to reach someone and you can't ever seem to get them on the line? Over time, that subtly communicates (even if incorrect) that the other person is too important to be reached. Now flip that around... might you have something to learn here when it comes to when you answer the phone?
  • Let every work phone call go to voicemail when you're with your family. Again, every conscious action you make communicates something unconscious to others around you. Make sure your family knows that you value them exclusively with one of the best bursts of your energy and time.
  • Set up get-togethers with people for no reason. Ask if you can just get together to hang out. If they need more than that, tell them you just want to swap stories about what's going on in each other's lives and build your friendship. That will flip the value from "I want to meet with you to get you to do something" to "I value you as a person and friend."
  • Wake up fifteen minutes earlier than normal and go to your "altar." There's probably somewhere in your home where you can be quiet and still before God. Worse case scenario, head into the bathroom (no, really). Intentionally give God your day, and invite Him to give you a fresh joy of knowing Him.
  • Read every headline in your local newspaper as a prayer request. Whether things are great or bad, allow God to break your heart for your city and love it like He does.
  • Make some new friends. It could be neighbors, co-workers or people who goes to the gym the same time that you do. Even if you just learn their names and something about them, you'll again enlarge the Story you're living in and realize God has you in their lives for a reason.
  • Become extraordinary at hospitality. This will be easier for some versus others, but find a way to make people feel incredibly comfortable wherever you're at. Let the weird lady in line at the grocery store who wants to talk with you actually feel like you are listening to her. Giving someone your full attention may be the only moment in their day when they realize they are valuable people that God loves.
  • Do something seasonally awesome. Volunteer to be a bell ringer outside of Wal-Mart. Go caroling in your neighborhood and pass out homemade cookies as you do. Get up on Christmas morning and pass out blankets to the homeless before you open your first gift.
What else? Do you have any ideas on how to flip Christmas around?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this great article, Tony. I look forward to reading your articles each week in the Medina Gazette Express.