// by Lauren Roman //

We’re all familiar with adages like “Celebrate the reason for the season.” It’s good to encourage each other – especially our kids – to focus on Christ in Christmas, rather than getting lost in a morass of commercialism and consumption. But, if we take it a step further, this Christmas can make a transformational difference in our lives.

Rest assured, I’m not maligning trees, lights, presents, or cookies. We can avoid Scrooge-ism and enjoy the things we love about this season. We simply shift the foundation to emphasize Jesus coming to earth as a baby instead of Santa Claus coming down the chimney with gifts.

To go a “step further,” we consider the real meaning of Jesus’ arrival. A baby in a manger is non-threatening – he’s not asking or requiring anything from us. But this baby is the embodiment of love and wisdom, fully God and fully human, who grows up and experiences the joys and pains of human existence. When Jesus starts teaching, He speaks with unique and undeniable authority that confounds religious leaders.

Jesus doesn’t invite people into “religion” or a personal relationship that asks nothing of them. Jesus invites people to follow Him – to believe and obey.

The modern church typically emphasizes belief in Jesus as Christ, the Messiah, the source of our salvation from sin. He certainly is that! And He is so much more!

When the Magi spoke to King Herod about the child they sought, Herod referred to the child as Messiah. This title describes the ultimate King the Jews had been waiting for – the One whose rule would never end. Although Herod didn’t know who Jesus was, he certainly believed Jesus was Christ, the Messiah!

Who do you believe Jesus is? What about your spouse, children, family, and friends? Do they believe Jesus is God? Is He a King to be followed, or a religious figure to celebrate during Christmas and Easter?

Each person has to decide who they believe Jesus is – and what to do with that belief. It takes more than belief to be transformed and experience new life in Christ.

Jesus tells us, “Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.” (John 14:24, NLT)

To truly celebrate Jesus as the newborn King, we must honor the entirety of who He is. He teaches us how to live each day with sacrificial love for others. He explains we love our Heavenly Father by obeying His Son. He gave His life to pay for the sins of every human who has, does, or will exist. He sent His Spirit as an emissary of His Grace – a constant Companion who empowers us to follow Jesus, love well, and walk humbly with our God.

When we worship God with all we are and all we have, when we seek to glorify Him with every aspect of our lives – Christmas truly makes a difference. And there’s no better way to celebrate Him every day, all year long!

Author Lauren Roman is a creative communicator, truth teller, and enthusiastic encourager who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began in her teens with a starring role on the ABC soap All My Children and continued with more TV and film, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nashville, and Grace Unplugged. Lauren’s work now encompasses speaking, singing, and writing for various faith-based non-profits, including Focus on the Family, Heartbeat International, and Celebrate Kids. For the past decade, she has delivered impactful keynotes for women, youth, and pro-life ministry events. Lauren inspires others toward true identity and freedom in Christ, sharing from her own journey as a “recovering perfectionist” with bold transparency, emotion, humor, and practical biblical insights. As she addresses tough topics like recovery, food/body image issues, sexual integrity, identity/self-acceptance, and mental health, she brings together ladies of all ages and stages, sparking vital multi-generational conversations. A lifelong poet, Lauren is thrilled to launch her debut children’s book Think Good, Be Good! in 2022. For more information, please visit laurenroman.com or find Lauren on social media @thelaurenroman