Now the title of this article might appear a little too shocking for the ‘merry’ Christmas season… but let me highlight some of the ways that the great deceiver tries to take our minds off Christ during the Christmas period, before suggesting some ways to respond.
Even before we hit December, the consumerist wheel has already begun to spin with the Black Friday sales. And once spinning, it continues with Cyber Monday, Green Monday(yes, this does exist) and, of course, the Boxing Day sales. Between the letter box catalogues, Facebook ads and TV commercials, Christmas very quickly becomes the consumer celebration. There is no doubt that Satan is at work here. He is in the business of directing our affections away from Jesus and towards the desires of our hearts found in the creation. Satan is having a field day with Christmas consumerism.
For most workers, the Christmas period is usually the busiest and most stressful. December 24 is often the deadline of all deadlines! Everything needs to be done before Christmas: the building project, the financial papers, the report, the dental work, the end of year school concert, the preschool parties, the Christmas shopping… December is a month of intense busyness. Many of us are too busy, too tired, too stressed, too grumpy to even begin to fix our eyes on Christ. Again, Satan is having a field day.
This might seem an unlikely example, but the Aussie summer holiday is also often a great distractor. It’s then that we’re most likely to fall out of any routine of Bible reading and prayer. For some, going to church on holidays is all too hard, and plus “we go the rest of the year anyways…”. So our holidays are Christless a lot of the time. Even more sadly, for many of us when we do go back to the normal day-to-day routine, we find it hard to get back to our previous pattern of Bible reading and prayer. Satan is having a field day…
The end of Satan’s days
I’m sure you’ll agree that’s all very depressing! And if we were to stop there, then Satan would indeed have his field day.
But here’s the truth we must remember: Christmas marks the end of Satan’s days. John tells us that the reason Jesus appeared was to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Jesus was born with the very purpose of putting an end to Satan’s field day.
Before the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, Satan was the great accuser (Rev 12:10). He could point to our sin and rightly accuse all humanity of guilt before God. We were by nature children of wrath (Eph 2:3).
But now—by the blood of the Lamb shed for sinners—Satan has been conquered (Rev 12:11). By the work of Jesus on the cross for us, the debt of our sin has been cancelled, and Satan and his underlings disarmed (Col 2:13-15). It is only by trusting in Jesus that we are no longer dead in trespasses and sin and following the prince of the air (Eph 2:1-10).
What incredible news we celebrate at Christmas: that moment when the Word became flesh (John 1:14) to save us from our sins (Matt 1:21). In the craziness of this season, we need to step back and make sure don’t get swept along with the tide of what the world thinks Christmas is about. So here are some practical ideas for combatting Satan’s deception this season.
Choose thankfulness over consumerism
Rather than sharing via social media that upcoming Boxing Day sale, why not share an invitation to this year’s Christmas services? Before you or your family open those presents under the tree, why not stop and pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the forgiveness of sins Jesus brings? If you have small children, why not have a birthday cake to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour?
Share Jesus amidst the busyness
With the few days left at work, amidst the craziness and busyness, make it your aim to share the hope you have in Jesus. Tell your colleagues of the great joy it brings to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If they live near you, hand them one of the 10,000 Christmas invites your church had printed (they’ll all go in the bin in a few days!). Pray for that person you stand next to on the train platform or bus stop every morning, and be bold and ask them to church.
Prioritise God’s word while on holiday
And once the rush of Christmas is over and you leave for some well-deserved holidays, make sure that Bible reading and prayer are a part of your daily routine. For mums and dads, try your hardest to read your Bible in front of your kids, and with your kids. For some kids, they may never see the Bible reading habits of their parents. What a great opportunity to model to them the priority of God’s word in your life.
It’s hard to go against the tide. But more than anything, Satan has his field day when we forget the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice to cover all our sins, or believe that anything could separate us from the love of God in Jesus. As we earnestly strive not to be swept along by the tide of Christmas distractions, we will certainly fail at points. So this Christmas, let’s remember that Jesus came to save sinners like us, and that the great accuser has been disarmed forever.