“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”Hebrews 10:24-25
Each December, we gather with my wife’s immediate family to decorate Christmas themed cookies with homemade icing and store bought sprinkles. What begins as an opportunity for everyone to simply gather around the table and fellowship evolves into one of those baking competitions as seen on the Food Network! We suddenly become expert pastry chefs, somehow convinced that maybe this year our Christmas tree shaped cookie will look different with the same green icing and alternating colored sprinkles than it did the year before. However, once all the cookies are decorated, the campaigning begins as we collectively select the top three winning designs, followed by devouring the cookies in last place.
Looking back on these types of memories, we find ourselves grateful for our family and friends and all the times we have been able to share together. Yet many of us have also experienced loss in our lives, too. If only we had one more day with a parent. If only we could have one more conversation with a friend. Although we know that our time here is temporary and that we will see fellow believers again, we still long for the fellowship we once shared. Many times these feelings are more prominent during the Christmas season when we spend time with the ones we love and reflect on the ones we’ve lost.
However, this season I want to challenge us on our fellowship with family and friends. Instead of simply continuing the day’s conversation around the Christmas tree while opening presents, let’s be intentional about our fellowship. Hebrews 10:24-25 directs us to consider how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds. The key to the verse is not simply for us to love and do good deeds ourselves, but instead to serve as a catalyst for those we fellowship with to do the same. Let us pray for one another, encourage one another, and serve one another in these final days.
Don’t just go through the motions this Christmas season and check the boxes of family traditions. Pour into people’s lives, and they will pour into yours. There is no better time or place to do this than in a setting with the ones we already love while glorifying God and celebrating the birth of our Savior.