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Looking to Jesus this Christmas

 

During the Christmas season, it is far too easy for our attention to be consumed with the busyness of decorating, gift shopping, menu planning, travel, family traditions, and more. In all these things, we have a great need to pause and intentionally focus our hearts to consider the meaning and miracle of Jesus’ birth.

Below are a few ways for you and your family to look to Jesus and come together around the Word of God this Christmas season:

A Christmas Bible Reading Plan

I invite you to use the following Bible reading plan in the days leading up to Christmas. Starting with the Old Testament prophecies, this schedule will take you from the first promise of the Messiah to his birth and childhood. May God give us fresh eyes to see the miracle and wonder of these truths!

12/1  Genesis 3:15
12/2 Genesis 49:10 
12/3 2 Samuel 7:12-17
12/4 Isaiah 7:14
12/5 Isaiah 9:6-7
12/6 Isaiah 11:1-9
12/7 Isaiah 40:1-11
12/8 Jeremiah 23:5-6
12/9 Micah 5:2
12/10 Luke 1:1-17
12/11 Luke 1:18-25
12/12 Luke 1:26-38
12/13 Luke 1:39-56
12/14 Luke 1:57-66
12/15 Luke 1:67-80
12/16 Matthew 1:1-17
12/17 Matthew 1:18-25
12/18 Luke 2:1-7
12/19 Luke 2:8-20 
12/20 Luke 2:21-40
12/21 Matthew 2:1-12
12/22 Matthew 2:13-23
12/23 Luke 2:39-52
12/24 John 1:1-13
12/25  John 1:14-18

If family devotions are a challenge, Christmas time is a great place to begin anew or start for the first time. If you would like to grow in this, we invite you to come and speak with any of the elders, and we would be glad to come alongside you as you lead your family.

Reshaping Traditions

Rather celebrating traditions for tradition’s sake, consider how you might reshape your traditions to help you and your family focus on Christ. Below are a few examples:

  • Consider adding a tradition like Operation Christmas Child and talk with your children about how we ought to be generous because of God’s great generosity toward us.
  • Instead of your annual Christmas card or end-of-year letter simply being another task, consider how you might write in such a way that communicates the gospel to family and friends. Share about God’s goodness to your family over the year, perhaps even as he has graciously sustained you through a difficult season. Seek to magnify God in your writing, rather than giving a long list of family accomplishments.
  • In the same way, holiday baking can be an opportunity to express the love of Christ to your neighborhood. With a little planning, delivering cookies or holiday breads to your neighbors or hosting a Christmas open house might help grow relationships and give opportunity for gospel conversations. Think of your home as a lighthouse to the homes surrounding you, and your family as a mission team to your neighborhood.

These are only a few examples, but let me encourage you to think about how you might reshape your traditions for the sake of the gospel, so that they will draw you and your family to Christ rather than simply being traditions. A helpful book (which you can download for free) is Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper.

Christmas Reading

We also encourage you to pick up a free copy of Scott James’ book The Expected One, a Christmas devotional with daily meditations from the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. We gave these books away last Christmas, and we have many copies still available in our bookstore. Grab your complimentary copy this Sunday!

New in the bookstore for this year, look at Tim Chester’s book The One True Light: Daily Readings for Advent from the Gospel of John. Each reading begins with a verse from the Gospel of John and is followed by a meditation. Chester has also included carols and prayers for each day’s reading.

Worship Services and Sunday Morning Classes

New Sermon Series: The Promised One

For the month of December our sermon series is looking at Jesus in the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew. Read Matthew 1-2, and come worship with us this Sunday! New Sunday Morning Class: The Servant Songs A new class “The Servant Songs” has begun, and is offered downstairs during both worship services. This class is a tour through the Messianic Servant Songs of Isaiah, and will conclude at the end of December.

Christmas Eve (6:00pm)

Join us for a special family service as we read Scripture, sing carols, and rejoice in our Lord’s birth.

Christmas & New Year’s Day (11:00am)

Come worship with us! We will hold one worship service at 11:00am, and Nursery and Busy Bees will be open for childcare. No other classes will meet on these Sundays.

It’s my prayer that these resources and opportunities will encourage you and your family toward Christ this season. May we gladly orient our hearts toward our Savior as we celebrate the Word become Flesh, Light come into darkness, and the Invisible made visible in the incarnation of our Lord.

Pastor Ben