Turkey and trimmings, gifts under the tree, fun with friends and family; Christmas is the season we let ourselves kick back and indulge, and it’s easy to lose sight of who it’s really about.

Here are five verses to stay centered on the true meaning of the season.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1.21 (NIV)

Wow. As Christians, we can be so well versed in the Christmas story that it loses its wonder. But just take a moment to say wow and remember what Jesus’ coming meant for each one of us – being saved from our sins. Imagine if Jesus never came to this earth. There would be no Christmas celebrations, no years of happy memories. But most importantly, no salvation from our sins. Wow, wow, wow. Let’s never lose the wonder of that.

“Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5.19 (NIV)

These are the words Jesus says to the demon-possessed man in the region of the Gerasenes. After he’s healed and restored him, Jesus tells him to go home and tell his loved ones what the Lord has done for him; he wants this good news shared within the family. Each of us as Christians has our own testimony about what the Lord has done for us so as we gather around the Christmas tree or dinner table with the people we love, let’s speak of the things he has done for us and all the ways His great mercy has manifested in our lives.

“Who do people say I am?” Mark 8.27 (NIV)

This is the question Jesus asks each one of us so we need to be sure about our answer. Lots of people celebrate Christmas but sadly, many think baby Jesus in a manger is just a nice story and the season is just a nice opportunity to share gifts and each delicious food with the family. Who do they say Jesus is? Perhaps the season passes a lot of people by without them giving much thought to who He really is. But as Christians we are different, we know who Jesus is. Let us not forget, even with so many distractions, and let’s seize the opportunities to tell others.

At the heart of Christmas is fellowship. We get together with the people we love to have some festive fun, whether it’s ice skating, going to a carol service, having dinner or drinks and nibbles. If that’s with other Christians, why not take a moment to thank the Lord, say a prayer, or perhaps have a time of sharing on what the Lord has done during the year. If you have time for it, why not read the story of Jesus’ birth together. It’s amazing how often we can find time for all sorts of things but can’t find the time for the things that really matter. So let’s be intentional about how we use our time this Christmas and make room for God. That’s the richest fellowship we can have.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.” Luke 7.44

Luke 7 describes the time when Jesus is a guest in the house of Pharisee but he is not treated in the way a guest should be by his host, according to the customs of the day. Instead of the religious leader, it is the sinful woman who observes the customs towards Jesus and shows the true reverence He deserves. Can we see ourselves in this story? Perhaps we are greeting others better than Jesus, welcoming them into our home with a kiss, while ignoring our Lord and Savior who stands at the door and knocks, and longs to be let into our lives. It’s Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, so let’s make sure he isn’t left standing outside but is the guest of honor in all our celebrations.

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