Ten Christmas Commandments

If you search the internet for Christmas Commandments you will find all kinds of wonderful lists online to help you get the most out of Christmas.

“10 commandments for a calmer Christmas.” Don’t seek perfection. Love yourself. Don’t try to keep everybody happy. Ask for help. Be grateful Don’t overcommit yourselves. Don’t compete with your neighbours.

“10 commandments of Christmas morning.” Wake up before the kids to enjoy a moment of calm before the storm. (I’m not sure the person who wrote that was actually a parent!)
Each person is responsible for keeping track of their own presents, gift cards and cash
Parents and grandparents – proudly wear or display any gifts given to you by your children! But NEVER compare gifts with other people on Facebook or Instagram! And don’t forget to send Thank You cards

“10 Christmas food commandments” Don’t try to serve up Delia Smith’s perfect Christmas dinner. Not even Saint Delia’s turns out like that when she cooks it on Christmas day. Same goes for Nigella, And Jamie Oliver. And even Mary Berry. You don’t need 17 vegetables. Brussel sprouts are optional. Nobody has to wear a silly hat if they don’t want to. And you are allowed to eat trifle for breakfast on Boxing Day. It’s Christmas!

If you need them you can also easily find 10 Commandments for Christmas cards””10 Commandments for Christmas Lights” “10 Commandments for Christmas Decorations.” “10 Commandments for the perfect Christmas tree.” But to help us all remember the real meaning of Christmas, let me offer you my 10 Christmas Commandments which I have gleaned from different places over the years.

1. You shall not leave “Christ” out of Christmas, making it “Xmas.”
For centuries people have written Christmas as Xmas. But when they started doing this, they weren’t using the letter X but rather the same shaped Greek Letter chi which is the first letter of Christ in Greek. In fact from the earliest days of the church they usually put what looks to us like a letter P crossing the middle of the X and that was the Greek letter rho or R. Together that made the chi rho symbol, which are the first two letters of Christ. Over the years that got simplified to an X. But it’s not Xmas, it’s Christmas. It’s not Xmas – not X the unknown in some equation we have to solve, not X something mysterious and scary from the X-files. Not X a mistake we’ve crossed out. It’s Christmas!

Many years ago a christening was held by a very wealthy European family. Many guests were invited to the home for the occasion and came in the very latest fashionable garb. Their wraps and coats were carried to a bedroom and laid on the beds. After all the usual of conversation and commotion, they were ready for the christening ceremony and someone asked, “Where is the baby?” The nurse was sent upstairs to look and returned in distress. The baby was nowhere to be found! After several minutes search someone remembered that the child had last been seen lying on one of the beds, and after a frantic search the little child was found smothered dead under the wraps of the guests. The whole reason why they had come had been forgotten, neglected, and destroyed! This Christmas many will forget, neglect and even destroy the Christ child! He is smothered by the tinsel, wrapping paper, ribbon, and make-believe that surround the festive occasion . “There was no room for them in the inn.” Let’s not crowd Christ out of Christmas. It’s not X-mas, it’s CHRISTmas – there wouldn’t be a Christmas without Christ. You shall not leave “Christ” out of Christmas, making it “Xmas.”

2. You shall prepare your soul for Christmas.
Don’t spend so much on gifts that your soul is forgotten. Christmas is meant to be a religious celebration – not a secular orgy.
George Bernard Shaw wrote this: “I am sorry to have to introduce the subject of Christmas in these articles. It is an indecent subject; a cruel, gluttonous subject; a drunken, disorderly subject; a wasteful, disastrous subject; a wicked, cadging, lying, filthy, blasphemous, and demoralizing subject. Christmas is forced on a reluctant and disgusted nation by the shopkeepers and the press; in its own merits it would wither and shrivel in the fiery breath of universal hatred; and anyone who looked back to it would be turned into a pillar of greasy sausages.”
HOW TRAGIC that Shaw threw out the baby with the bathwater. He saw the secular ways Christmas was celebrated and totally missed the spiritual reality. Don’t throw out the baby this Christmas. You shall prepare your soul for Christmas.

3. You shall not let Santa Claus replace Christ, robbing the day of its spiritual reality.
Hundreds of years ago, there lived a man named Nicholas (later known as St. Nicholas) who gave to others because he loved Jesus. He was born in A.D. 280, and when he was still just a boy his parents died, leaving him great wealth. Early in his life he devoted himself to serving God. Later, as a bishop in Asia, he gave away much of his wealth to the poor — especially to children. When he was persecuted and imprisoned, he always shared his meager provisions with the inmates. He believed that giving to the needy was the same as giving to Jesus. So from St Nicholas we get Santa Claus, Father Christmas.
But don’t be mistaken. Father Christmas was not God born as man – it was Jesus Christ who was “Immanuel, God with us.” Santa Claus never died for anyone! That was Jesus, so named because he would save his people from their sins, dying on the cross so that we could be forgiven. You shall not let Santa Claus replace Christ, robbing the day of its spiritual reality.
4. You shall not burden the shop girls or the postman with complaints and demands.
Somebody wrote this about Christmas. “Could Satan in his most malevolent mood have devised a worse system than where several hundred million people get a billion or so gifts for which they have no use, and some thousands of shop clerks collapse with exhaustion while selling them, and every other child in the Western world is made ill from overeating—all in the name of the lowly Jesus?”
Why is it that so many people are more impatient and bad-tempered and irritable in this season of good cheer than at any other time of year? As Christians we should set an example of what Christmas is really about.
HOW ARE YOU DOING with the Advent of Kindness we talked about a couple of weeks ago in our Family Service?
Smiling and thanking somebody who serves you and wishing them a happy Christmas?
Letting somebody in front of you in the queue in the shop or out in the traffic?
Smiling at a stranger?
Offering to help somebody?
Getting in touch with an old friend or relative?
Hiding a happy note for somebody to find?
Doing something unexpected for somebody?
Feeding the animals?
Embrace the Advent of Kindness. Just be nice to people!
You shall not burden the shop girls or the postman with complaints and demands.

5. You shall give yourself with your gift.
This will multiply the value of the gift a hundred fold, and the person who receives it will treasure it forever. An African boy listened carefully when the teacher explained why it is that Christians give presents to each other on Christmas Day. “The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other,” she said. When Christmas Day came, the boy brought the teacher an amazingly beautiful sea shell. “Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?” the teacher asked. The boy told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found–a certain bay several miles away.
“Why, it’s gorgeous,” said the teacher. “But you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get a gift for me.” His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of gift.” You shall give yourself with your gift.

6. You shall not value gifts received by their cost.
Even the least expensive may signify love, and that is more priceless than silver and gold. We can become preoccupied with what we receive at Christmas. We thought about that in our Family Service as well. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” “You’re far happier giving than getting.” (The Message Acts 20:35)
There was once a family that celebrated Christmas every year with a birthday party for Jesus. An extra chair of honor at the table became the family’s reminder of Jesus’ presence. A cake with candles, along with the singing of “Happy Birthday” expressed the family’s joy in Jesus presence. One year a Christmas afternoon visitor asked the five-year-old girl, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?” After a moment’s hesitation, the girl answered, “No, but then it’s not my birthday!”
You shall not value gifts received by their cost.

7. You shall not neglect the needy.
Share your blessings with many who will go hungry and cold unless you are generous. The examples of St Nicholas and of Good King Wenceslas encourage us to give not only to our family and friends, who themselves are giving gifts to us, but also to give to strangers, to the poor and needy who can never give us anything in return. It is more blessed to give than to receive. If everybody were to give to Chess or to the Food Bank or to Open Doors just a fraction of what we spend on our own Christmas celebrations, even just a few pence out of every pound we have spent on cards and presents and decorations and food and drink, then many poor and homeless people and orphans would have a much happier Christmas!
Again we thought about this in our Advent of Kindness. How are you doing with
Donating a Christmas present to a charity?
Giving some old clothes to a charity?
Passing on old books to charity?
You shall not neglect the needy.

8. You shall not neglect your church.
Our church services highlight the true meaning of the season. The most important thing any of us can do to celebrate Christmas is to make time to worship Christ. So much more important than the presents or the dinner or the TV programmes, all of which can so easily be a disappointment to us. Jesus is the reason for the season. So remember to make time to pray, to come to church to worship, to give thanks to God for Jesus this Christmas. Something we have always done as a family is gather around the piano on Christmas Eve and sing some carols together. You shall not neglect your church.
9. You shall be as a little child.
Jesus said, You won’t be ready to enter into the kingdom of Heaven until you have become in spirit as a little child. Adults can be so detached, so critical, so cynical. Children still have the capacity for excitement, for joy, for wonder, for awe, for adoration. Children still have the ability to sing with the angels, to rejoice with the shepherds, to worship with the wise men. You shall be as a little child.
10 You shall give your heart to Christ.
As well as Christmas trees and baubles and tinsel, decorate your house with Christian symbols to remind you of the real meaning of the celebrations. Remember that the original reason for festive candles and lights was to remind us of the birth of Jesus, the light of the world.
So make sure that Jesus is at the top of your Christmas list. That’s the very best way we can thank God for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, who came reveal God to us, to show us how to live and to die so we could be forgiven and receive God’s free gift of eternal life, life in all its fullness. We need to give ourselves to Him who gave Himself for us, to accept His love by trusting and loving and serving Christ in return.
The carol puts it like this.
Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
And Christina Rossetti wrote these lines in her poem, “In the bleak midwinter”
What can I give him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give him; Give my heart.
You shall give your heart to Christ this Christmas.

So here are my 10 Christmas Commandments.
1. You shall not leave “Christ” out of Christmas, making it “Xmas.”
2. You shall prepare your soul for Christmas.
3. You shall not let Santa Claus replace Christ, robbing the day of its spiritual reality.
4. You shall not burden the shop girls or the postman with complaints and demands.
5. You shall give yourself with your gift.
6. You shall not value gifts received by their cost.
7. You shall not neglect the needy.
8. You shall not neglect your church.
9. You shall be as a little child.
10 You shall give your heart to Christ.

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