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<< Encouragement for Today

Encouragement for Today - Dec. 16, 2008

  • 2008 Dec 16
  • COMMENTS

December 16, 2008

 

Are You Ready for the Holidays?

By Van Walton

 

“What matters is not your outer appearance... but your inner disposition.”

1 Peter 3:1 (MSG)    

 

Devotion:

This year I am tempted to keep a close count of the number of times I hear the question, “Are you ready for the holidays?”

 

What does that mean exactly? If I were to guess what people mean when they ask one another if they are “ready for the holidays,” I would say most are not talking about spiritual readiness. I bet what they typically mean is, “Have you made a list of all the stuff you need to do before the 25th and have you checked it off?”

 

Usually the answer that follows is a long list of to-do’s before Christmas day. Baking, sending Christmas cards, buying and wrapping gifts, hiding presents from the children, or delivering them to neighbors, choir or play practice, preparing for guests, or preparing to travel. My list also often includes planning and attending parties, house cleaning, and finally – my favorite – decorating.

 

I wonder, if Jesus were making a holiday preparations list, what would He include? What if those who were there on Christ’s birth day could advise us on getting ready for Christmas? What would be on their list?

 

Joseph might recommend we listen closely to the voice of God to prepare.

Mary may suggest we ponder the miracles of heaven.

Perhaps the angels would propose we sing about the King.

The shepherds may gently guide us to follow their act of worship.

Possibly the wise men would teach us to give Jesus our most valuable gifts.

The innkeeper may suggest “Hospitality: open your heart and home.”

And Jesus’ list would likely encourage us to be a light on the hill pointing the way for others to know Him.

 

Comparing my to-do list to the ones above, I wonder if I lived at that time, would I have missed Christ’s birth? Would my busyness have kept me from slowing down to take time to worship in the stable? Unfortunately I have “missed” many Christmases in the here and now because I’ve not slowed down long enough to bow my knees and experience the miracle.

 

I want Christmas for my family to be more about an act of worship and awe than a frenzy to decorate, shop, and jump through the world’s hoops. I don’t want to miss the true reason we celebrate.

 

A few years ago I set out to purposefully plan the way I celebrate. As a result, my Christmases have become increasingly simpler and at the same time my heart has become increasingly more satisfied.

 

Are you ready for the holidays?

 

Father, Thank You for sending Your son to point the way to You. Please remind me that preparing my heart for You is more satisfying than any other preparations I could make. Simple and pure devotion to You is what makes this season so special. Help me balance my time and keep my focus on You this year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources: 

Advent: Making Christmas About Christ by Lisa Robertson

 

The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life by Louie Giglio

 

Visit Van’s blog

 

Application Steps: 

In addition to reading the Christmas story in the New Testament click here to read about the prophecies that gave hope to the Old Testament generations.

 

Reflections: 

What traditions can I develop for myself and my family that will keep Jesus as the focal point of Christmas?

 

What holiday practices might I eliminate in order to create a more worshipful and meaningful Christmas?

 

Power Verses:

I Peter 3:15a, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” (NIV)

 

 

2008 Van Walton. All rights reserved.

 

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org

 

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