The Christmas season has become so commercialised that many people have forgotten what the holidays are truly all about — the glory of Jesus' birth, love, and sacrifice.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church wants people to experience God's love this Christmas, and so he has come up with a list of three principles that would help them reclaim the importance of knowing the true meaning of Christmas.
The first principle is to "keep things simple." Warren writes in a column for pastors.com that Jesus Himself was born in sparse circumstances. Jesus embraced a life of humility and simplicity, and people must reflect the same Christ-like attitudes.
That's what Warren, his wife Kay, and the rest of Saddleback Church are trying to do as well. "We want people talking to each other, helping each other, and growing together," he says. "No matter how large Saddleback becomes, we never want someone to feel lost in the crowd. We purposefully provide lots of opportunities during the holiday season for one-on-one interactions, such as providing food for the homeless, helping needy single parents buy gifts for their children, or showering struggling families with practical, loving support – financially, emotionally, and spiritually."
For Warren, simple is not just beautiful, but it is also powerful as well. With this in mind during the holiday planning process, people are better able to celebrate the Christmas season.
Next on his list is to "be there." Warren explains that when Christians give love to people and serve them in the name of Jesus, they are truly embracing the spirit of Christmas.
"One way we tell our families and friends that we love them is by giving them our focused attention. Attention says, 'I value you enough to give you my most precious asset – my time.' When you give someone your time, you're giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. You can always make more money, but you cannot make more time," he says.
Lastly, Warren encourages Christians to "give with delight." Jesus believes there is more happiness in giving than in receiving. But Warren wants people to keep in mind that giving is a matter of willingness, not wealth. "It's attitude, not amount. God doesn't want your possessions; he wants your heart," he says.
"We've replaced true, heartfelt, delightful giving with a hollow materialism that keeps us all overspending during the holidays. Instead, we should give from our hearts. In fact, as a pastor, I'd like to see you expand your definition of giving beyond the financial. Imagine how much you could bless others if you simply shared your time and talents," Warren adds.