How To Revive the Spirit of Christmas in the New Normal
When Jesus came to the world as a baby, it was at the end of a long period of silence between God and his people, and right in the middle of one of the most politically, socially, and spiritually tumultuous periods in all of human history. This was not the period when God’s people expected him to come down and save them. And he didn’t come the way they expected him to.
And yet, in the midst of chaos, sorrow, and silence, there came a baby in a manger to save us.
A weary world rejoices
The challenge for many of us this year is how we can best celebrate Christmas in a new normal. Last year, Christmas looked nothing like usual, and this year, we’re having to walk the line between being able to revitalize old traditions while still being somewhat different from years past.
Here are 3 things to help us all celebrate Christmas to its fullest and reflect the joy of the season.
1. Prioritize the people over the projects
During the Christmas season, we take hope in remembering why Jesus came in the first place - for his people, whom he loved dearly. End-of-year fundraisers, big Christmas services, and finally getting to have an office Christmas party again are all good things, but when they become foremost on your priority list, you lose opportunities to express gratitude and encouragement to your team and church members. This is an important season for leaders to set the tone for their teams, and an easy way to do so is by honoring and celebrating the Imago Dei within your organization. Check out our Ultimate Church Staff Christmas Gift Guide for some ideas on how you can celebrate the hard work of your teams this season.
2. Revitalize your traditions
There is profound value in tradition and in repeating meaningful celebrations year to year. But since we are moving forward into a world that looks drastically different from the world of two years ago, now is the perfect time to determine the “why” behind some of your long-held praxes. Your traditions directly feed into your culture, and vice versa. If you are doing your Christmas service the same way it was done 50 years ago because it is incredibly meaningful to your congregation and helps them savor the Christmas season, wonderful! But if you are doing it that way because it’s simply the way it has always been done, and people are too bored and tired to say anything about it, consider new life-giving ways to do things and improve your culture. This season is the perfect time to consider how, going forward, you can revitalize your Christmas celebrations, combining the wisdom of bygone days with the anticipation of newness.
3. Reflect on new priorities
The past two years reoriented our priorities, whether we realize it or not. Interpersonal connection is more critical than ever. For many of us, we have been deeply reminded of the fragility and fleeting nature of human life, and with it, the hope of an enduring Gospel, brought to us by a baby in a manger. Take time to reflect on how the values and needs of your congregation and teams, as well as your own, may have shifted, let that inform how you should celebrate the baby in the manger. Consider what your ministry community specifically needs in this season, versus what they may need more consistently from now on.
There is so much joy to be found in reflecting upon the miracle of Christ’s incarnation. God choosing to come down and seek us out, rescuing us despite our blatant rejection of him, is the radical news on which our entire faith is based. At Vanderbloemen, we understand what you and your people need in order to connect spiritually and emotionally with Christmas joy may be different from year to year. So choose, in this unique season of celebrating the coming King in the midst of a strange new normal, to view this as an opportunity to reflect in new ways, with new perspectives. And move forward with fresh ideas, priorities, and opportunities to further the Kingdom of our radical, life-changing, and loving Emmanuel.