“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Charles Dickens

Christmas is over. We can put away the hustle and bustle, and the stress for another year. All over the world children are playing with their Christmas presents, the Christmas services at church are in the real view mirror and the Bing Crosby Christmas CD is put on the shelf, with the elf, for another year.

There is a collective sigh of relief on the day after Christmas. After all the presents have been wrapped, bought, opened and enjoyed, the Christmas decorations can soon be taken down and stored. The Christmas cards have all been delivered. All our obligations have been met and attended.  And we sang Joy to the World and Silent Night and shouted “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets for the last time. That is until next year.

Here is something I know. When the Christmas season comes around in 2015, we will again be totally committed to become more giving, loving and focused on our Savior’s birth. During Christmas we seem to be kinder, happier and more forgiving. We think about those in need and actively do things to help them. We throw a little extra in the offering at church or volunteer to help in Christmas outreach programs. Maybe we pray more, read scripture more, praise God more in song or watch our favorite movies celebrating Christ’s birth. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” after all. The bottom line is Christmas is one time of the year that seems to bring out the best in us.

But why do we limit so many positive God honoring actions to one time of year? I ask myself that same question. Yes, it is Jesus’ birthday and the birth of the Son of God coming to save the world is grounds for major celebration and praise. But do we celebrate His birthday throughout the year? If not, why not?

Jesus should be celebrated every day. Not only the Nativity story, but the reason why God gave His son. I mean, think about the impact of Jesus’ birth. Think about the whole point of His life. The impact of Jesus’ whole life lasts throughout the year, every year, and it will continue to do so until the end of time.

We should maintain the Christmas spirit all year. We should be the best we can be throughout the calendar year, not just during the Christmas season. We should be giving, loving and forgiving regardless of what time of year it is. Jesus’ gave us an amazing lesson on how to treat people.  We should try to emulate His example year round.

We talked a lot about joy in the last two teaching series at Northstar. If we have joy at Christmas, why can’t we have joy year round. Yes, I agree that the joy of Christmas is definitely unique. And granted, it’s not an easy one to maintain throughout the year. It usually doesn’t feel like Christmas every day when those around us resume the normalcy of life. But to have a continuous joy in the heart is necessary in order to reflect the love of Jesus Christ to those far from the heart of God.

I want to make one thing clear. You don’t have to have a Christmas tree year-round or give gifts every day in order to celebrate Christ’s birth all year. Just remember the virtues represented in the Christmas season and the magnitude of Christ’s birth on a daily basis.

Discussion Questions:
1. If Jesus is not central to the celebration of Christmas can He be central the rest of the year?
2. Research has shown that you live a better life when you forgive others. Is it easier to forgive at Christmas than any other time of the year? Why or why not?
3. We have a bright future with Christ to look forward to. Does it look brighter at Christmas? Name the thing(s) that worry you the most and ask God to help you in those areas during the entire year.
4. Challenge yourself to have joy, hope, love, forgiveness, and peace throughout 2015. Pray to The Lord for the strength and courage to  have those qualities year round.