18 days until Christmas! It seems that you cannot escape the frenzy of the season with countdowns and reminders are everywhere. As followers of Christ, the countdown to the birth of our Savior should be a constant reminder to be joyous and humble. Often though, the countdown is the opposite. The countdown reminds us of the errands we have yet to run and the gifts we need to buy. So how do we redirect the anxiety and rush of the season so we can share and show the light of Christ?

We can keep our focus on Christ this season by immersing ourselves in Scripture and prayer. There are many advent devotionals and calendars for this express purpose. They follow the whole month of December with continual reminders of Who we are celebrating. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

By disciplining ourselves in pouring over God’s Word each day, we are refocusing our eyes on Him and not on the hectic-ness the world is throwing at us. Many of the advent devotionals focus on hope, because that is what this season brings. Christmas is a day of celebration because God became flesh and dwelt among us so that he might take our place. Christmas is a reminder of the love God has for us and the hope that Christ brought. Our Savior was born. What an amazing miracle!

I often fall into the bad habit of overusing words to the point that they lose all significance. Savior is one of those words, along with ‘amazing’, ‘wonderful’, or ‘awesome’.  When it becomes part of your everyday language, it’s difficult to remember the power and awe inspiring meaning. The almighty Creator of the universe, the one who can speak things into existence, the one who has no end and no beginning, sent His son as a baby, a helpless, completely dependent infant. Why? Because He loved us. Because He wants us to be with Him.

And I urge that we do not to skim over that. I urge that we do not to let that message get lost this season. I urge that we do not to let the Christmas songs and the Christmas story become so commonplace that it holds no wonder, no amazement. Look at it with fresh eyes, ask God to remind you of the joy and awe this season.

Because we have hope in a very dark and confusing world. Like the star that guided the wise men to that very humble beginning, we have an opportunity to be a light that points to Jesus. The holidays can seem particularly grim to those desperately lost. Without hope, Christmas becomes a gaudy and frivolous time to spend lavish amounts of money on people you may not even like. Christmas is our opportunity to show Christ’s love and grace. As we go out this season, let the hope we have overflow to everyone we encounter, so they might see the difference and follow the light.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:14-16