“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” — Philippians 1:9–11
People around us are often confused about Christmas, and not just the meaning of the holiday. Now it seems that even using the name Christmas is something people disagree on. Have you noticed how store clerks might say “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”? Or that you might see X used instead of Christ in the word Xmas?
As Christians, we know the reason for the season, but sometimes even we get confused about what’s important and don’t make the best choices in how we spend our time during this busy season. Paul’s letter reminds us to think about our priorities this time of year. In other words, what is going to be more important to us than the other things we do?
Paul lived in a confused world much like ours. Most Romans thought the idea of a baby Jesus being born of a virgin was ridiculous. But the Christian church was growing larger every day, even in a confused culture that didn’t believe in Jesus the Savior. Paul prayed that all the Christians would overflow with love and God’s love would be life-changing on those around them. Paul knew that there’s no better way to show the love of Jesus than by praying for and loving those whom Jesus created.
So, what would Paul want us to focus on as our priority this Christmas? Paul prayed that love would abound—in other words, that love would be all over the place. That might be our most important prayer this Christmas season. “Lord, may your love abound in me—more and more” at this Christmas party, at school, at practice, or with my family.
How can we do this and show Jesus’ love to those around us during this busy time of year?
Our family likes to do “random acts of kindness” during December. The name is not a good one because the acts are not random and it’s not our kindness that makes the difference. But we intentionally find ways to help others and focus on those around us who need Jesus by showing love in the simplest of ways: leaving coins taped on the vending machines at a hospital, dropping off hot chocolate mix and brownies at a nursing home, allowing a stressed-out mom to go before you in line, or even paying for someone in front of you at the drive-through.
You may never know the impact the love you give has on a person, but you can trust that the powerful love of God will make a difference each time it is given. It’s just a simple way to follow Paul’s advice and spread love everywhere we go.
Paul also prayed that our love would abound “with knowledge and all discernment.” Discernment means that we think before we act. Maybe we need to be pickier with the activities we attend, the friends we choose to spend time with, and how we spend our time during this busy time of year.
God has a great priority for you this Christmas, and Paul wrote about it. God wants us to know and desire what is “excellent.” If we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can love others with the love Jesus provides, and we can know and choose what is excellent instead of things that are less important. The love you give others today and every day will make a difference to someone—if it’s God’s love. Let’s make that our Christmas priority.
Lord, let our days be filled with your love this Christmas. May it overflow as a blessing to others, and may we find just the perfect place to do for others in a way that you can bless. Open our eyes, our minds, and sometimes our mouths, so that we can share the true joy of Christmas with others.