As we celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas, let us challenge ourselves to focus on the “Light of the world,” and remember that Jesus really is the reason for the season. It is so easy to get caught up in all the festive events, sales at the malls, finishing those Christmas lists, decorating the house, making travel plans, and visiting with family.

What is supposed to be a time to remember the Son of God entering the world becomes a time of exhaustion and survival. The joy of life and of the season is stolen; and, of course, the Presence of the Lord becomes impossible to detect.

Jesus said in John 8: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (ESV). The key is to follow Jesus as we traverse these holiday times. Keep Him always before you in your mind and your heart. Talk to Jesus often. Keep your daily time alone with Him. Ask Him for His guidance and blessing on your daily activities. Look for references to the Christ as you listen to and sing the carols and Christmas music. Don’t neglect your time of worship of Jesus with other believers. Reach out to those around you who are in need (not just physical needs, but emotional and spiritual as well). Remember, there are numerous military families in our community whose loved ones will not be home for Christmas.

Following Jesus through this wonderful time of year will bring out His love and joy in your life. Following Him will make all the difference between a Christ-centered Christmas or a cultural-driven Christmas. It will make all the difference between “getting through” the season or “being a blessing to others” during the season. Following Jesus will help you to see His Presence in and around you as you go about your business. It will enable you to be a blessing to others in their time of need. After all, didn’t Jesus say, in Matthew 5:14-15, that we, His followers, are also supposed to be light of the world: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house."

Dr. Foley Beach is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (Canada, US, and Mexico).