10 Tips for a Regret-Free Christmas Season {How Not to Be a Grinch}

Christmas chaos is upon us: Crazy driving. Parking space posturing. Surly store line maneuvering. One would think we are all angry little elves in need of a big hug. We easily nod in agreement that Jesus is the reason for the season, but is He our reason in the season?

It must be the heightened expectations and diminished calendar space that leave so many of us feeling regretful for our grinchy behavior. The good news is that there is another way.

Here are 10 Tips for a Regret-free Christmas Season or 10 Ways to Avoid Being a Christmas Grinch:

#1–Remind yourself: You are someone deeply treasured…Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved…” (Col.3:12a). It’s easy for the green of Christmas to change to shades of envy. Did we get invited to the right parties? Is our value determined by how many cards we find in our mailbox this season? The God of the universe has chosen, embraced and loved as his own.

#2–Dress your best…put on {be intentional} heartfelt compassion {don’t be phony}, kindness {go out of your way}, humility {get over yourself}, gentleness {be tender}, and patience {slow down all the expectations}, accepting one another {every.single.one.of.us}…” (Col. 3:12b-13a).

#3–Say goodbye to Christmas Past...”and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, you must also forgive (Col.13:13).” Give the gift of forgiveness.

#4–Get your priorities straight…Above all, put on love–the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 13:14).  Christmas is about incarnation–that is, Jesus embodying the love of the Trinity in the flesh of man and entering into the lives of others who needed hope, light, and love. What will you embody this Christmas season?

#5–Remember: Immanuel–God with us–and He is in control.And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts” (Col. 13:15a). Peace is not what falls upon Midnight Skies–it is what settles upon troubled, frustrated, and hurried hearts with whispers of calm. It is a strong, yet gentle hand upon the shoulder that says, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this thing. Relax, it will be okay. I am with you.”

#6--Take inventory of what you already have… “Be thankful” (Col 13:15b). The Achilles heel of this season is the defaulting into believing we need all the things the commercials tell us we do. All that wanting only robs us of enjoying what we already have. Turn up the volume on thanksgiving and dance like know one is looking.

#7–Go tell it on the mountain, like for reals… “Let the message of the Messiah dwell richly among you,” (Col 13:16a). There is no easier time to talk about Jesus. Who doesn’t want to talk about a cute and cuddly baby? This story of incarnation and love and Mary’s worship and Joseph’s bold obedience and the Messiah’s coming after so long a wait and a God that rescues, it’s all too wonderful! We’ve got to get talking about this, peeps.

#8–Be ‘that’ friend, the one who listens and says what needs to be said…”teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,” (Col. 13:16b). Holiday times are slippery times. Emotions are heightened, family tensions tend to run high, and truth can be slippery. Be the kind of friend that helps people live into their best self–listen with concern, but then be brave to speak hard words. Leave every person better than you found them.

#9–Can I get a Christmas carol, please?!and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Col. 13:16c). The carols of our faith are filled with some amazingly rich and beautiful theology. Are you having trouble fighting the holiday grumbles? Turn up those tunes and fill your minds with songs of love.

#10–Practice pervasive and persistent gratitude…with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Col 13:16d) No, life isn’t perfect, but if Christmas reminds us of anything it is that God is in the business and doing amazing things. We cannot flee from His presence, so our hearts can be persistently grateful for His goodness. How? Stop. Remember him–He is with you. Look. Find evidence of His work, right where you are at. Listen. Do you hear the rush of His love pouring into your heart (Rom. 5:5)? Gratitude is noticing with deep appreciation what is already there.  God is with you. He is working in your life. He is loving you. This practice will change you…I know because it has changed me.

And what will happen, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And yours can too! Then – the true meaning of Christmas will shine through, and all we Grinches can find the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!

Which handy-dandy tip for Christmas civility do you most need today?

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