By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
WITH the joyous Christmas and New Year’s holidays also comes the hectic schedules and last-minute shopping stress.
Some ask themselves, with all that is going on during the season, how do you stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas and keep the faith?
Tribune Religion posed the following question: “How can Christians remain focused on God this season without getting sidetracked by parties, spending money and the overall materialism that seems to have taken over?”
Bishop Reuben Deleveaux of New Holy Spirit Church of God said the main thing is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour, because if a person does not know him as their personal saviour they cannot stay focused on somebody they don’t really know.
“No matter what’s going on in and around you, once you know who you believe in and that person is Jesus Christ himself, nothing can really sidetrack you no matter what; you will stay focused in spite of your surroundings,” he said.
Like Bishop Deleveaux, gospel entertainer and the creator of 242 Untapped, Vincent “V-Mac” McDonald, also appreciated the question, saying that he was happy to share his views.
“I think the big picture of Christmas that we tend to overlook is a clich�d saying, but it’s true, which is to ‘remember the real reason for the season’,” the singer said.
“Love is the greatest gift; just telling someone you love and appreciate them and letting them know you are there for them, that is the ultimate gift, because it is the gift that God gave us; the gift of love. I think we should focus more on that and not get sidetracked on trying to get the gifts. One of the things that I realise even more so now is the fact that there are a lot of people out there that have problems and we are the solution to each other’s problems; our kind words to help them out of their situations. Let’s just focus on love and helping. This love can be spread out all year around and it makes no difference whether it is a holiday or not.”
Jonathan Rolle, a Calvary Bible Church member, said he strongly believes in the power of prayer and wears it like a full suit of armour of God, especially around this time of year.
“Through prayer, I resist temptations and have my mind on God, even as I go through my shopping exercises. I firmly believe that even shopping can be done to the glory of God,” said Jonathan.
According to crosswalk.com, a Christian living resources website, the reality for many people is that they become emotionally stressed out, financially maxed out and physically burned out trying to keep it all together during this time of the year.
“To stay spiritually-minded during the holidays we need to keep our eyes focused on the Lord and include Him in our thoughts. Instead of talking to ourselves we need to start talking to Him and then give Him the time to talk back. The enemy will use every scheme he can against us to distract us from maintaining a walk with the Lord,” the website noted.
Bahamian artist, communicator, youth specialist and life coach Corey “DJ Counsellor” Rolle said it is the company you keep that sometimes lures you away from Christ and into activities that take you away from who they are and their faith.
“You have to be very careful and stay mindful of the season. It is a time to spend with families and enjoy yourself, but be mindful of your environment; that kind of keeps you on track,” he said.
“Once you keep those things in mind it helps you to remain focused, but of course we are humans and we are always tested by things, and sometimes we enter into things unknowingly; but just keep grounded. This will help to maintain you through this fun and overspending. Realistically, we are celebrating Christ, which has nothing to do with spending.”
Chrissy Dean, a member of the Anglican Church, said it is easy for her to stay focused because the whole point of the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and by making this the focal point of the season makes it easy to be focused on God.
“It is easy to become sidetracked by activities of the season, but what helps me is spending time with God and praying at the very start of my day, throughout my day and at the end of my day,” she said.
Tiffany Sands, another Anglican Church member, said she thinks it is great to take a break from shopping and attend a Christmas concert or play some traditional Christmas music during this time of year.
“Some of the best Christian music is Christmas based and it really gets you in a spiritual place,” she said.
Michelle Davis, a Pentecostal follower, added that at the end of the day people have to realise who provided them with the time and money to be able do the shopping and running around.
“You can’t get too busy preparing the house with gifts and shopping. We are supposed to be celebrating and rejoicing because at this time God’s son was born and we should make the time to say thanks and meditate on that,” said Michelle.