From Black Friday through Christmas Eve, people will be shopping for material things to give to family, friends, and clients on Christmas Day. They will be searching and sorting through stuff, seeking to find just the right gifts.
But perhaps we should also shop for Christ*mas. Maybe, during this shopping season, we should search and sort and seek what can help us love and live more like Christ. If you would like a Christ-filled Christmas (a Christ*mas), here are some steps to shop for it.
* Shop for ways to love and serve others. Be kind. Share encouraging words. Hold doors open for people. Politely move aside to let others through the crowds. Carry someone’s bags. Give to The Salvation Army Red Kettles. Volunteer with a nonprofit. Help a neighbor. Provide transportation for someone who doesn’t have a car.
* Shop for inspiration. There is much in the media that is disrespectful and discouraging. Don’t consume it. Instead shop for, watch, and read what is uplifting and inspirational — what stirs your heart towards love, peace, joy, and God. It is there, but you have to be a world class shopper to find it. Here’s an inspirational movie jewel I found a couple of years ago: Henry Poole Was Here.
* Shop for ways to grow spiritually. We live in a world that is creating multitudes who are still-born spiritually — in an age where spiritual growth is extremely difficult. It takes superb shopping skills to find and use the tools for spiritual growth — but they are available to those who really want them. Examples: various types of prayer, spiritual reading, solitude, spiritual listening, spiritual warfare, spiritual formation, detachment, meditation, devotional Bible reading, organic church, self-denial, humility, fasting, and other spiritual disciplines. (Google one of these to start your spiritual shopping.)
* Shop for Christ-focused friends who follow and obey Jesus. We become like the people we spend time with. If we want to shop for Christ*mas, we must find friends who are not conformed to this world’s standards, but who are being transformed into people who live and love like Jesus. Sort through your friends and hang out with the ones who are sold on living like Jesus. If you don’t have any (or many) friends like that, become a super shopper and hunt down some passionate followers of Christ and begin to make friends with them.
If you will shop for Christ*mas with the same effort most Americans shop for Christmas, you will be amazed at how your life will be transformed. Why not make your shopping season Christ-centered this year?