Focus on the Family

Putting The 'Merry' Back Into Christmas

by Carrie Gordon Earll

For Christians, Jesus is "the reason for the Christmas season." While the commercialization of Christmas stands in stark contrast to the humble origins of our Savior’s birth, this sacred-turned-secular holiday provides an opportunity to communicate that Christmas matters to millions of people of faith more than decorations, parties and shopping lists. 

Here are some practical ways you can infuse Christmas with your values and faith in the culture and the marketplace:Faith-Driven-Consumer-4

So, by spending your gift-giving dollars strategically, connecting with elected officials and saying the words, "Merry Christmas," you can help bring the true meaning of Christmas back into the public square.

 


Engage in 'Cultural Commission' This Christmas

byCatherine O. Snow

Ask anyone when the peak season of gift-giving is and, more than likely, they'll say "Christmas." What was once a sovereign remembrance of God's gift to mankind — Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, who paid the penalty for our sins at the cross and rose from the grave on the third day, so we may be reunited with God — is now overshadowed by Santa, sales and circulars.

If you're tired of the secular commercialism, yet equally overwhelmed with the thought, "how can I make a difference?" Focus on the Family is here to provide you with practical solutions and tips for engaging the culture for Jesus Christ.

It's All About Perspective

Christianity is a worldview, a system of thought and life. Therefore, Christians, by the very nature of what they believe, are called to be change agents — or as Christ Chuck Colsonsaid to be "salt and light." While the Lord tarries, Christians are tasked with helping to fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples, baptizing them and teaching them all Jesus commanded (Matthew 28: 16-20).

What many don't realize, however, is there's an underlying responsibility of every believer to bring righteousness into the culture, or as Chuck Colson dubbed it, "a cultural commission." Yet, in today's post-modern (and post-Christian) society, many are intimidated by the prevailing politically correct culture of "tolerance."

In an interview, Colson also said:

"The Gospel cannot be a private transaction. It can't just be 'Jesus and me.' God didn't come, break through history, break through time and space, come in the person of a babe, the incarnation and then the whole salvation account. He didn't come just so you could come to Him and say, "Oh, I accept Jesus and now I can live happily ever after." That's not why He came. He came to turn the world upside down.  …"

It's Time to 'Suit Up' (And Not in a Santa Suit)

So, how can you help bring righteousness into the culture?

First and foremost, realize and remember: God does not leave us empty handed nor uninformed. He's given us His Word — the Bible — which is "living and active" and applicable to any and every circumstance you may face (ref. Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:1-11).

Furthermore, Scripture is chock full of examples of God calling people to stand firm in their faith — that is, to be willing to be used by God, regardless how dark the circumstances may appear — and serve as a beacon of His Truth and sovereignty to a lost world. 

Christians in first-century Rome serve as godly examples of sharing the Good News and bringing righteousness into the culture — even at the risk of their own lives. While plagues were ravaging the populace, and medical assistance was scarce, Christians remained to tend for the suffering and poor. They chose to intersect their lives with those who needed to hear and believe — to be "doers of the Word, not merely hearers who delude themselves"(James 1:22).

Second, try memorizing and meditating — either individually or as a family —on the directives in Ephesians 6:10-17 and intentionally "suit up" so you can stand firm and engage the culture in His strength:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Lastly, pray and seek God's heart for opportunities to intersect in the lives of others, whether that means your immediate family, a coworker or your child's teacher. It's vital we have the right heart and motive when we reach out into the culture. As 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 reminds us, without God's love, we gain nothing.

 


Is the Bible Relevant Today?

by Catherine O. Snow

Here are four examples of courageous faith and trusting in God's sovereignty. Following each example are similar present-day scenarios today's Christians are finding themselves:

Old Testament
New Testament

 


Celebrate With a Purpose

by Catherine O. Snow

As Christians, we often recount how stretched we are with our time, our careers and our finances. But are we really "investing" these God-given resources as we should? And are we loving God, as well as loving our neighbors as ourselves? Take a moment to reflect on Jesus' words in Luke 10:24-38 and Matthew 25:14-45.

Your Time |Operation Christmas Child 2
Your Talent |
Your Treasure |

One of the easiest ways to stand firm in the culture is by supporting businesses that affirm to sanctity of life, marriage and religious freedom.

Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby — companies known for operating according to biblical principles — have been in the news defending their faith. But what about other companies? How can we know where they stand on issues important to us?

Fear not.

FaithDrivenConsumer.com, an online community forum, seeks to empower Christians to spend, when and wherever possible, with companies supporting a biblical worldview.

Their premise: Faith-Driven-Consumer-5

"We all make consumer choices every day. Have you ever considered the practices and viewpoints of the companies you buy from? How do they recognize and treat your preferences? We live in a world where a small group who want to deny us our convictions can drown out tens of millions of believing, practicing, committed Christians.  It’s time for a change."

Finally, are you looking to encourage a student's Christian worldview this Christmas? Here are three age-specific resources: