Every year I find myself longing to celebrate Christmastime with a deeper focus on what the season really is about – the birth of our Savior. Oh, I love all the fun traditions of the holidays – I just want them to play second fiddle to a time of reflection and meditation on the spiritual significance of the season. And so, I’ve implemented some things in the past few days to help set the tone for that goal:
* The first Christmas decoration that I pulled out of the attic yesterday was the nativity set. I chose a place of prominence for it (it fits perfectly on the top of my new desk), and Eli set it up just right.
* Yesterday we began our Jesse Tree devotions. We placed the first ornament (the stump with a branch signifying the Root of Jesse) on a small tree and placed it on our large kitchen table where we see it constantly.
* Besides our Jesse Tree devotions, I’m also reading a Christmas devotional to the boys during our read-aloud time. “Why the Nativity? 25 Compelling Reasons We Celebrate the Birth of Jesus” by David Jeremiah is set up to explore a question pertaining to the nativity per chapter. Some examples include: Why Did Jesus Come When He Did?; Why Was There No Room in the Inn?; Why Did Jesus Come as a Baby?; and Why Did the Wise Men Bring Gifts? I appreciate the writing style of Dr. Jeremiah – his eloquence makes this book a pleasure to read and provides thought-provoking and informative insights into the nativity.
* I’ve also added a few seasonal things to my personal devotional time. I’ve been reading through the words of a few Christmas carols each morning from an old book of hymns that we have. Meditating on the words that I so often sing without thinking about has brought a new appreciation for the truths found in the songs of His birth.
* During my devotions I’m also reading “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus – Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas” which is edited by Nancy Guthrie. This book is a compilation of excerpts from sermons and articles written by a variety of people from a variety of time periods – Martin Luther, John Piper, Joni Eareckson Tada, George Whitefield, R. C. Sproul, and many others. I am very much enjoying these readings for Advent and have found them a way to inspire my heart towards keeping Christ at the front and center of Christmastime.