Welcome to our special series, “Keeping Christ at the Center of Your Holidays.”
Over the next few weeks, you get to enjoy the wonderful words of my amazing friends as they share with you creative and practical ways you can keep Christ in the middle of all of your celebrations.
Our prayer is that you will come to know Him, worship Him, enjoy Him, celebrate Him, and share Him with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. People all around us need to know the love of Jesus.
May we all be bright “lights” this year – sharing hope to those who need it most!
Several years ago our family took a Christmas trip to New York City.
New York is an incredible place to visit. But during Christmas—it is magical. We immersed ourselves in the city. We rode the subway, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and ate from food trucks. Our kids ice-skated in Bryant Park on Christmas Eve. We visited Ground Zero on Christmas Day.
During the most wonderful time of the year, our eyes were on a million wonderful things—but we missed THE most wonderful thing.
It wasn’t intentional, but in the midst of the magic, we missed Jesus.
Looking back on that trip, I enjoy the memories we made.
Looking forward, though, I don’t want to miss Jesus again.
I want to focus on Him!
I want to make much of Jesus during the holidays!
Making much of Jesus starts in the heart.
“But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess,” (1 Peter 3:15, NET).
Most of us put a lot of time into planning our Christmas parties, gift giving, and holiday dinners.But do we plan to keep Jesus the center of our Christmas celebration? Click To Tweet
Here are a few suggestions for making much of Jesus this holiday season.
Choose an Advent Devotional
For me, this is the most significant way to focus on Christ during the Holidays. My morning quiet time is my favorite part of the day. It’s my mom’s legacy to me.
Pursuing the Christ: 31 Morning and Evening Prayers for Christmastime, by Jennifer Kennedy Dean, is my favorite Christmas devotional. She is a brilliant writer and uses incredible imagery to communicate truth. This little book has readings for both morning and evening. I especially like the ones in the evening because they encourage me to slow down and refocus on Christ after a full day of activity.
Christ in Christmas, an advent devotional developed by The Navigators, is another one I’ve enjoyed.
When our children were elementary age, we used a couple of things to keep their focus on Jesus.
Adorenaments, by FamilyLife – These ornaments represent the names of Jesus. On the days leading up to Christmas, we chose one Adornament, and read the meaning and Scripture behind the name. Our kids took turns placing them on the tree as part of our decorations.
A Family Inductive Bible Study Guide for Advent, by Eleanor Zweigle. I took my kids through this free, downloadable inductive study when they were able to write on their own. The study focuses on John 8:12, “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’” It also includes craft and coloring activities for children. You can find it here.
Set Up a Christmas Worship Playlist
I understand that sometimes in the busyness of the season we want q-u-i-e-t! But when you can, worship with your heart and voice! These are some of my favorites:
- Mary, Did You Know, by Pentatonix
- Born is the King, by Phillips, Craig, & Dean
- Heaven Everywhere, Francesca Battistelli
- Hallelujah, Light Has Come, Barlow Girl
- Joy to the World, Avalon
- He Has Come For Us (God Rest You Merry Gentlemen), Meredith Andrews
When someone you care about has a birthday, an anniversary, or other major events, you probably buy a card for them. If you scrapbook, you make it! If that someone is extra special, you do more than just sign your name. You take the time to write a note expressing how much they mean to you. You might even share a special memory with them.
Christmas is a great time to write a similar letter to the Lord. If we take the time to write a note in a loved one’s birthday card, certainly we can take a moment to write a love note to the One who showed us what true love really is.
Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus Christ.
He gave up His heavenly home to become a man. He set aside His glory for manger rags. He became nothing so we could have everything!
“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges [made himself nothing (NIV)]; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Philippians 2:6-11, NLT).
The lights and sounds of Christmas make it a most special time of the year. We decorate and we bake. We visit family; they visit us. We fill our calendars with parties and performances–maybe even a playoff game or two. All delightful things.In the excitement, we can miss Jesus. But we don’t have to. Click To Tweet
Enjoy this beautiful holiday! But build margin into your schedule. Fill your heart with Jesus. Then you won’t find yourself overly tired with a tree full of gifts, and a heart running on empty.
Make much of Jesus this season. It starts in your heart!
Thank you, Dianne, for such a practical and creative article that encourages us to intentionally focus our hearts on Jesus this Christmas. I love the idea of an Advent devotional, and I’m going to start my own Christmas worship playlist! Great suggestions! We really appreciate you taking the time to share such a beautiful message with us today! You have blessed us~
- Dianne and her husband have been married for 25 years and have three busy teenagers.
- Her heart’s passion is teaching the Word of God to women, whose relational and emotional needs are deep.
- When you fall in love with Jesus and His Word, you experience the full, over-the-top abundant life He wants you to have. It’s not an easy life, but one that is rich in meaning and fully satisfying.
- She is the author of soon-to-be-released, Gear Up: Standing Firm in Christ, 6-week Bible study on the Armor of God.
- Connect with Dianne on her blog, Sweeter Than Honey, where she shares encouragement for life. Because of her love for the Word of God, each post is rich in Scripture.
- You can also find Dianne on Facebook, Twitter, Pinteres
t, and Instagram at @STHdianne .
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