One of the best parts about attending football games is watching a big play happen. There is an overwhelming sense of joy when a touchdown is made, the crowd erupts, and complete strangers unite as one celebratory body.
However, one of the worst parts about attending football games is missing a big play happen. You know the moment when you go to the concession stand to get more snacks or go to the restroom and you don’t get to be a part of the action? You’ve missed it. Watching the instant replay on a screen is never quite the same as seeing the action unfold in real time.
Too many of us live our lives in instant replay and are disconnected from what is going on around us. We only look up to take a couple of pictures to share on social media as an instant replay reminder of the “big play” that happened. A “big play” and an opportunity for oneness that we, frankly, missed out on.
This Christmas season is the perfect opportunity for us to intentionally engage with others around us, if we can convince ourselves that they are more important than our devices.
Here are a few ways we can make sure we don’t miss out on Christmas:
Being attached to our devices is a societal norm. We don’t think twice about checking our devices whether we are mid-conversation with someone, at dinner, in a meeting –or at church (yeah, I saw you). In fact, Pew Research released a survey stating that one-fifth of Americans are online “almost constantly!"
The first thing we should do as people who live in a device-ridden society is recognize how much time we are spending on our devices. I believe many of us would be shocked if we realized just how much time we spend looking at a screen (there’s an app for that). Be practical and ask people who are close to you if they think you spend too much time on your device. I know many of us won’t like the answer we may get, but that’s the best place to start (Proverbs 27:6). Have a conversation with your community and ask the Lord to search your ways (Psalm 139:23).
Why are we so busy? When we look back in 10 years was that one email, text, or response we needed to check on social media really so important that we missed out on precious time with our families? If Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Savior who came to give us rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30), why do we feel an incessant need to have our phones in our hands and our eyes glued to the bright lights of everything in the world?
Many times throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus leaving the crowds to go and be with his disciples. The disciples were his family (Matthew 12:48-50); Jesus knew the importance of having intimate time with those you call family. This Christmas we should take the opportunity to rest ourselves from the masses, and spend time with the Lord and loved ones.
Some of us will need to be so proactive as to remove the apps that distract us most from loving those around us. Don’t get us wrong, phones, social media, and the internet are not inherently evil (1 Corinthians 10:31), but they can quickly become tools of idolatry and rob us of the joy of great fellowship. Christmas stands as a reminder that we too should walk in Christ’s humble example of serving the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-7). One of the simplest ways you can serve others is to spend time with them with undivided attention. If you have recognized that you have a tight grip on your devices and can’t find rest, it may be time to remove apps or devices from around you. A good practice is to put all of your devices in one room separate from where you are having fun with the people you care for.
This is the most wonderful time of the year. Let’s be prayerful and mindful of our family and friends who may not know the Christ we celebrate during Christmas. God can use us as a light in the lives of others if we can find the time to rest from the light of our devices. This year, let’s not miss out on Christmas.
God bless and have a Merry Christmas!
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