James E. Woods

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Christmas Eve — Traditions and Relationships (Enter for a chance to win free book)


Christmas Eve — Traditions and Relationships

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
— Philippians 2:1

One of our Renner holiday traditions when I was young was visiting some close, lifelong friends to our family on Christmas Eve. It was a Christmas tradition to gather with this family every Christmas Eve at their home until the Pope finished giving his annual Christmas message on television. Then we said our farewells to everyone for the evening.

I never understood why we waited for the Pope, seeing that we were such staunch Baptists. But that message from the Pope was the signal to the Renner family that Christmas Eve was coming to a close. After that speech, we piled into the car to head home, go bed, and eagerly wait to wake up the next morning so we could gleefully open our gifts.

When I think of those Christmas memories, I think of friends, family, and entire evenings of fellowship shared at our close friends’ home. I can remember those moments like they just happened last week. They were tender moments shared with our Christian friends — singing Christmas carols, fellowshipping around church events, and thanking God we knew the Lord and enjoyed fellowship with others in Christ.

I can remember driving home on Christmas Eve from our friends’ home and passing a bar along the way that looked like it was packed with people. I felt so sad for people who went to a bar on such a special night. They obviously did not know Christ. This left such sadness in my heart — and such thankfulness that my parents had led me to Christ at an early age.

Christmas Eve was a special night when our family gathered with God’s people and fellow- shipped around His Word. All of this was a part of what Christmas Eve meant to me. This makes me think of Philippians 2:1, which says, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

This verse speaks of the “fellowship” of the Spirit — that is definitely what we enjoyed with our friends each Christmas Eve. The word “fellowship” is the Greek word koinonia, which describes something that is mutually shared. We mutually shared our common church membership; we mutually shared our faith in Christ; and we mutually shared our joy of the holiday and of our special night together. From beginning to end, Christmas Eve with the Renners and their close family friends was a night of koinonia and one of the greatest memories of my life.

I encourage you to find a way to share Christmas Eve with people who are close to you. Let it be a time when you mutually rejoice and spend time together. It is such a special night, so don’t let it slip by with you being alone. There are others out there, like you, who are longing to spend time with someone on that special evening!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY


Father, I thank You for the fellowship of the Spirit that we have with other Christians who mutually share faith with us. What a fellowship, what a joy, and what a blessing — to build years of fellowship and Christian traditions with other believers. I ask You to help me start thinking about how to build Christian traditions for myself and my own family, especially in moments like Christmas Eve. I am so thankful for fellow believers who share the same hope I possess. I’m so grateful we can spend cherished times together in our mutual love for the Lord and for each other.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY


I confess that I will work on building traditional Christian events for myself and my family in order to deepen the true significance of this beautiful season. God has given me friends that I can spend those moments with — and if I haven’t developed those friends yet, I declare by faith that I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and begin to connect with other Christian believers. I need this, my family needs this — and I will look for ways to do it.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

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QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Do you have a Christmas Eve tradition? If so, what is it and how long have you been doing it?
  2. Do you spend time with other believers — or with family — on Christmas Eve? What do you do? How do you spend that time together to make it really meaningful?
  3. Do you open Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Differ- ent families have different traditions — what are your traditions?
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