Dear Dr. Graham:

The other day someone mentioned to me that Christmas was only a few months away, and I just got depressed. Already I’m dreading the hassle and expense. You’ll probably just tell me to “keep Christ in Christmas”, but how can I? It’s a nice thought, but it never works.

— Mrs. D.McS.

Dear D.McS.: I suspect many readers feel the same way you do; Christmas has become so commercialized and so busy that it’s easy to lose sight of its true meaning. Like the busy innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away on that first Christmas night, we seem to have no room for Jesus.

But what if we could keep Christ in Christmas? What if we could rediscover the profound truth that “Jesus is the reason for the season” (as a bumper sticker I once saw declared)? Then Christmas would not be the burden it’s become for so many — overspending, overindulging, overcommitted, overtired. Instead, we’d take time to ponder the wonder of Christ’s coming — and we’d respond to Him in worship and commitment and love. The Bible says, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

Although it’s still months away, take time now to plan for your holidays. Decide what you really need to do — and cut out what you don’t need to do. Decide how much you have to spend — and don’t exceed it.

Above all, set aside time each day for you and your family to focus on Jesus. Read the prophecies about His coming in the Old Testament, and read too what happened on that first Christmas. Take time for special church events also. Yes, keep Christ in Christmas — and in your life every day.