Welcome back! If you are just joining us, we are using the YouVersion Bible App to follow a devotional together. Read THIS POST to get all the information you need to join in and then you can read THIS MORNING'S POST to see the promises we are focusing on this week.
It came down to two verses for me. One is very dear to me as I use it as a life calling almost and the other is perfect for the season we are heading into. Ultimately I could only choose one but I think I'll need to write about the other verse soon as I think it's incredibly important. The verse I chose is...
My Son is everything you will ever need. He will rule forever. Isaiah 9:6
I'm in full holiday planning mode these days. I've got my planner where I'm writing down things I want to do, things I have to do, and things that I can take or leave. I'm keeping track of ideas for presents and making sure I write down when I've actually purchased something so it doesn't get lost before it's given. I have menus and crafts and decorations swirling around my brain.
But none of that matters if I don't keep the focus of the season on Jesus.
I get chills when I read the names in this verse. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. He is all those things and so much more. If I push Him to the side of my celebrations, if I only half-heartily thank God for sending his Son as an infant so He could grow and die for me, if I put more emphasis on what my kids wear to the Christmas program at church rather than teaching them WHY we celebrate, then it's all for nothing.
One of the first traditions we started for our family is the reading of Luke 2 first thing on Christmas morning. Before stockings get dumped out, before presents get distributed, before breakfast is served, we take time to read the story and focus on why we have this day set aside. As our kids are growing they are remembering this tradition and it's impacting them. I asked the kids what they'd like to do this holiday season and our oldest reminded us that before we do anything on Christmas morning we needed to read about Jesus' birth. He went on to say knows that December 25th isn't actually when Jesus was born but it's when we celebrate.
This year I want to make sure that we are doing things to draw our focus back to Him. We are hoping to adopt a family from our church's angel tree - it was actually the kids that brought up the idea last weekend. They remembered doing it other years and wanted to do it again this year. I found fun LEGO ideas for building nativity scenes that we can work on together. But mostly we want to keep the season a time of celebration to thank God for sending his son. The greatest gift we could ever receive.
Gracious Father, thank you for the gift of your son. Thank you that you promised us that he would one day come and fulfill all your promises for a Messiah. As we enter this amazing time of year I pray that we would be less focused on the number of lights we hang and rather the light that came into this dark world. Less focused on the number of cookies we bake and more focused on the bread of life. Less focused on the hot cocoa and more focused on the living water. Less focused on the presents under the tree and more focused on the gift of salvation through your son. In Jesus name, Amen.
What do your holiday plans look like? How do you stay focused on Christ during the Christmas season? What are your favorite Christ-centered traditions?