After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:9-11
Christmas is here with us again and we would like to encourage you to praise and meditate on the reason for the season.
- Quiet Our Hearts
Taking just five minutes to be quiet and focus on our Savior can change the landscape of our thoughts during a stressful season. I love Eugene Peterson’s translation of the “Be still and know that I am God” verse: “Step out of the traffic. Take a long, loving look at me, your high God” (Psalm 46:10, Message).
This December I’m trying an experiment: to sit in silence for five minutes at the beginning of my day, or any time I can squeeze it in before stress gets the better of me. I literally set a timer, and make myself sit still, breathe deep, and know He is God. Five quiet minutes remind me that with Jesus at my side, I don’t have to live my life in a hurry.
- Make Room for His Word
During Advent, we celebrate this truth: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Let’s open our doors to more of Jesus by making room in our hearts and our schedules for the life-giving Word of God.
December may not be the best season to make up for lost time by speed-reading through what remains of that forgotten “Bible in One Year” plan. Instead, perhaps reading a few verses each day from one of the gospels or from an Advent devotional can open our hearts to the grace we need.
- Come Clean
As much as we enjoy the holiday season, it adds MORE to our already busy lives: more activities, more shopping, more work in the kitchen, more decorating, and more stress (along with all the joy, right?). Before I know it, I start to fret and get snappy; a layer of frustration and resentment can build up inside.
Yet nothing frees our heart like taking a few minutes to humble ourselves before God and ask Him to show us our sins. When we recognize and confess them, God cleanses us and helps us get back on the right path.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” – Psalm 139:23-24, NASB.
- Invite Our Savior to Come in
One of the most intriguing miracles of the New Testament is Jesus making his home inside us. Let’s open the door of our hearts to Him. Ask Jesus to come and show himself to you. Draw near to Him for fellowship as we go about our everyday activities and as we work on holiday preparations as well.
We can pray Paul’s words for ourselves: “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17).
- Ask God to Heal our Broken Places
High expectations of a joyous season can weigh heavy on hearts. Christmas may bring painful reminders of dysfunctional families, struggles with singleness, or the loss of a loved one. Maybe for you December is a reminder that the prodigal you love and pray for has yet to come home.
God always waits for us to pour out our hearts and simply tell Him how we feel. Here’s a promise we can count on: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” – Psalm 34:18.
- Remember What He Has Done
The holidays can set us on a track of rushing to get everything done. Then before we know it the year has ended, and we’re looking ahead wondering what goals and priorities to set in January. Let’s not forget the gentle art of examining our lives to look for evidence of God’s provision, grace, and mercy. What has God done for us this past year?
This particularly helps if December finds us in a hard place where life looks bleak. Make a list of some things God did for you and your family this year. The same faithful God who blessed you in the past will continue to do so in the future.
- Ask God to Renew our Hearts
You may be dragging a weary heart around as you push through extra activities and responsibilities. Maybe a long year has drained your strength. How about stopping for a few minutes to remember the Lord as your Shepherd? “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:2, 3.
What if we asked Him to refresh our soul with an awareness of His care for us? Let’s ask Him to renew our hearts with the strength and hope we need for today.
Whether our hearts need to be quieted, cleansed, healed, or renewed, God will meet our need as we draw near to Him. Let’s celebrate Christ’s coming by making a bit of room for Him in our hearts and souls this December. Will you join me in setting aside a few minutes for Jesus each day as we celebrate His birth?
Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 Fm – Saturdays 7:30 pm; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymns and their Stories.