It seems like every year there are more and more visuals of over the top consumerism with Christmas. Black Friday has gone from a day of deal getting to Black and Blue Friday. This has made me think through how to help provide some helpful context to youth ministry during this season. After all, Jesus said:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-20
Unfortunately, that concept gets lost somewhere in the crowds fighting over $2 waffle irons. So, what can we do to help remind people what this season is about?
1- Check your heart — Have you lost the reason we celebrate in all the stress? Each of us has the opportunity to model the right priorities and not get carried away by the momentum of consumerism. Let’s make sure that we take some advice from my 4 year old son — “Why do we get the presents if it is Jesus’ birthday?” (by the way, he was not proposing giving up any of his gifts)
2- Consider giving to a cause– Sure this time of year is a time when people tend to be more generous, but there are overwhelming needs. As a family maybe you do something for a local or global cause already. This year I am thinking about how to get our youth group involved in something that would make a difference and open their eyes to the needs around them. For the last few years, we have done a food drive in place of a traditional white elephant gift exchange at youth group. It was my hope that it caused them to think, if only for a moment, about someone else who might be struggling. This year I am considering adding some global concern to the mix. Compassion International has a Christmas Catalog of practical areas where one can give. World Vision has a similar catalog.
3- Spend time with the Lord– Don’t lose track of your own time in the Word. If there is a time of year to have a greater emphasis on this, now is the time. You will have a hard time storing up treasures in heaven, if you never spend time with God in order to know what those treasures are. He must be what we are seeking, not some gift that He gives.
My list is certainly not complete, as I am right in the middle of it just like everyone else.
What are you doing to help keep your ministry, or family, focused on the meaning of Christmas?