In college, I had a friend tell me that she and her parents were not exchanging gifts for Christmas that year. I was truly shocked. What was Christmas without the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning and opening gifts?
I think back to that conversation and realize my friend was much more mature in her walk with Christ. She realized what had become an idol in her life, and she chose to put it aside. Some would say she and her family were just taking the saying "Jesus is the reason for the season" too far, but what if their love for Jesus just outweighed the pomp and circumstance of the season. What if the manger was enough?
If there were no gifts to unwrap, no special meal, no traditions, would Jesus be enough for Christmas this year? This is a tough question for any of us to ask. Gifts, meals, and traditions are not inherently bad, but if they become more important than Jesus, we have made an idol out of them. What if this Christmas we chose to truly put Jesus front and center? There are fifteen days between now and Christmas morning. The best way to focus on Jesus is to focus on His Word – to focus on the promises of God that are the greatest gifts we will ever receive.
For those not doing an advent study this year, don't miss out on the beauty of walking with your Savior to Christmas morning. Each day between now and Christmas, meditate on one of the Scripture passages below. Some ways you can do that is by writing the verse on a notecard and placing it on your bathroom mirror, next to the kitchen sink, or on your computer at work so you can read it multiple times and rest in the truth of the passage. For those who are really creative, utilize a small tree with some paper ornaments. Write out the verse each day and include your family as you place it on the tree and focus on Jesus. However, you choose to meditate on scripture, use it to point your heart to Christ, and thank the Lord for His many gifts.
When you wake up on Christmas morning, take some time to worship your Savior who left His majestic throne, came to earth as a humble baby and walked the road to the cross where His blood was shed for you. Remind yourself of these verses and praise the Lord for His grace and presence in your life. The words "Merry Christmas" will be filled with more joy, hope, and love than ever before. All glory to our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
- Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15
- When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. – Galatians 4:4-5
- The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14
- For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift – not from works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23
- Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
- Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
- For you, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, abounding in faithful love to all who call on you. – Psalm 86:5
- Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17
- But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10
- We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
- See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated "God is with us." – Matthew 1:23
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
- This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent – Jesus Christ. – John 17:3
- You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures. – Psalm 16:11