“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
The Christmas season is supposed to be one of joy. But with long lines at stores, increased traffic in the cities and growing frustrations with businesses secularizing or watering down the real reason for the season, Christmas can become a time of jeers, not cheers, for believers.
Think about it. Even while many churches do a great job reaching out to the community this time of year, to invite people back to church, when visitors get there, they are sometimes met with frowns.
“Oh hey, Carl! Glad you finally made it back to church,” is a phrase that some people might hear. Christians mockingly talk about “CEO’s” (Christmas and Easter only attenders). This should not be the case among the Body of Christ.
In fact, there’s a lot of hostile talk on the lips of professing Christians these days. If you were to look back at what you said, for example, on Facebook during 2016, during a very tumultuous election season, what would you see?
Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:16). If people were to look over your posts, would they reflect the fruit of the Holy Spirit? If the answer is “no,” let’s harness the joy and season of Christmas to take upon a countenance of kindness.
To help us, let’s use this following acronym, C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S.
C—Consider what effect your words, in person or online, will have on the hearers. Words mean a lot, for good or ill.
H—Habituate yourself toward saying uplifting things to others. The Bible says that love builds up and does not tear down.
R—Remember that once you say something, it is permanent. If you have a cutting, negative thought, try to keep it to yourself.
I—If you find yourself easily draw into arguments online, take a break from social media. The social media world will go, with or without you on there for a week.
S—Say something kind to one person a day. This could be a spouse, your neighbor, your pastor. Take time once a day to spread kindness.
T—Turn your thoughts to Jesus. Ultimately, the fruit of kindness will only come from the Lord. Spend time with the Master and you will become more like Him.
M—Mend fences with those you have offended. If you have levied harsh or overly critical words in 2016, write a note to the offended person apologizing.
A—Attend to the Word of God. The way we believers are conformed to the image of Christ is by time in His Word. If we imbibe the very words of the Lord, we are more likely to be kind.
S—Salvation is found only in Christ, the greatest gift to mankind. His salvation also sanctifies us in mind and in our speech. Imitate Christ in this way.
All of these reminders are easier said than done, but by God’s grace, they can be done. And when we fail to show the kindness of Jesus, at Christmastime or any time of year, what a joy it is to know that He is quick to forgive us and to help us go and sin no more.