Holidays

How to Focus on Heaven, Not Self, This Holiday Season

Hope Griffin November 1, 2018

The holidays are an important time to reflect on both the blessings and the commands of God.

The Bible says everything you have you were blessed with, both to enjoy and to use to bless the world around you. Sometimes we forget this. Instead of enjoying what we have and being a blessing to the world, we allow the world around us to distract us.

It is easy to get caught up in the craziness of the season and lose focus on why you exist or the purpose God has called you to. It is easy to become self-centered and overly concerned with material things during the holidays.

Focusing on Heaven

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus gives us a clear command — one we should pay careful attention to during this time of year:

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen. Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value, and are safe from thieves. If your profits are in heaven your heart will be there too” (Matthew 6:19-21, Living Bible).

Storing up treasures on earth happens when your focus is solely on things like your wants, your success at work, your having the biggest house or the newest car.

Why Does This Seem So Difficult During the Holidays?

During the holidays, storing up treasures on earth becomes even easier to do as you try to fill plates and stockings with the wishes of your loved ones and hope the same happens for you.

Perhaps you’re not a gifts person, but pulling off the perfect holiday dinner or the perfect holiday photo is what you want. Or maybe the priority for you is avoiding the season and the loneliness it brings altogether. If your focus is solely on things, on having an Instagram-worthy holiday or on your needs being met, there is no room left for what is truly important.

As the holidays approach, it is important that everything we do and give is out of love for God and gratitude for His love.

Why It Matters

One day, God will hold you accountable for the choices you’ve made and how you’ve spent your life.

Make sure that your time with God and in His Word doesn’t get lost as you prepare for your holiday celebrations and check off your massive to-do list.

How you live your life during the holidays — and all year long — sends a clear message about what is important to you.

What does the way you live this time of year communicate? In this selfie-centered world, it’s very easy to live in a way that calls attention to yourself rather than to God.

The same Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas told His disciples, and us, right before He left for Heaven, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, New International Version).

When you share God’s love with the world through your words, actions and how you spend your time and your money, you store up treasures in Heaven.

One way to do this is by giving a portion of your finances. The holidays are a perfect time to reflect on God’s blessings in your life. When you share those blessings, you are also fulfilling God’s command.

Instead of getting swept up in the stresses of perfectionism and materialism of the holidays, what are some ways you could shift your focus back to God, loving others the way you love and care for yourself and living a life that stores treasures in heaven?

Next Steps

  • Focus less on your Christmas wish list this year and instead think of tangible ways to share Christ’s love with others: a gift, a paid bill, an invitation to dinner.

  • Financially sponsor a missionary from your church or a local organization sharing God’s love.

  • Make time with God a daily priority. Try finding an Advent Devotional to help you focus on Christ throughout the season.
     



Adapted from “Our Accountability to God”.

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