Are You Ready for the Holidays?
Van Walton

“What matters is not your outer appearance... but your inner disposition.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (MSG)

This year I am tempted to keep a close count of the number of times I hear the question, “Are you ready for the holidays?”

What does that mean exactly? If I were to guess what people mean when they ask one another if they are “ready for the holidays,” I would say most are not talking about spiritual readiness. I bet what they typically mean is, “Have you made a list of all the stuff you need to do before the 25th and have you checked it off?”

Usually the answer that follows is a long list of to-do’s before Christmas day. Baking, sending Christmas cards, buying and wrapping gifts, hiding presents from the children, or delivering them to neighbors, choir or play practice, preparing for guests, or preparing to travel. My list also often includes planning and attending parties, house cleaning, and finally – my favorite – decorating.

I wonder, if Jesus were making a holiday preparations list, what would He include? What if those who were there on Christ’s birth day could advise us on getting ready for Christmas? What would be on their list?

Joseph might recommend we listen closely to the voice of God to prepare.
Mary may suggest we ponder the miracles of heaven.
Perhaps the angels would propose we sing about the King.
The shepherds may gently guide us to follow their act of worship.
Possibly the wise men would teach us to give Jesus our most valuable gifts.
The innkeeper may suggest “Hospitality: open your heart and home.”
And Jesus’ list would likely encourage us to be a light on the hill pointing the way for others to know Him.

Comparing my to-do list to the ones above, I wonder if I lived at that time, would I have missed Christ’s birth? Would my busyness have kept me from slowing down to take time to worship in the stable? Unfortunately I have “missed” many Christmases in the here and now because I’ve not slowed down long enough to bow my knees and experience the miracle.

I want Christmas for my family to be more about an act of worship and awe than a frenzy to decorate, shop, and jump through the world’s hoops. I don’t want to miss the true reason we celebrate.

A few years ago I set out to purposefully plan the way I celebrate. As a result, my Christmases have become increasingly simpler and at the same time my heart has become increasingly more satisfied.

Are you ready for the holidays?

Father, Thank You for sending Your son to point the way to You. Please remind me that preparing my heart for You is more satisfying than any other preparations I could make. Simple and pure devotion to You is what makes this season so special. Help me balance my time and keep my focus on You this year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Advent: Making Christmas About Christ by Lisa Robertson

The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life by Louie Giglio

Visit Van’s blog

Application Steps:
In addition to reading the Christmas story in the New Testament click here to read about the prophecies that gave hope to the Old Testament generations.

What traditions can I develop for myself and my family that will keep Jesus as the focal point of Christmas?

What holiday practices might I eliminate in order to create a more worshipful and meaningful Christmas?

Power Verses:
I Peter 3:15a, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” (NIV)

2008 Van Walton. All rights reserved.

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Lysa TerKeurst said...

Beautiful Devo Van... Thank you!

I especially loved the list of what the people from the Christmas story might have told us we needed to do to get ready.

That is good stuff!

Much to ponder...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes,a light on the hill pointing the way for others to know Him!
Just think of someone you know of who needs to be encouraged and pointed back to God,let them know of God's love,you will be surely blessed by God by doing so!
I have to go the cat is in the Christmas tree!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this reminder. Interesting to think about the readiness of those people in the story and their viewpoint. That will be most helpful I am sure.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigh...the question "are you ready..." brings a dis-heartened feeling...because this year I have done almost nothing at this point and don't know as I will do anything...

But then...I read your list...and i am going to have to think on those the Bible says..."whatever is lovely...good...etc." You have listed the important part of CHRISTmas...

Time with the LORD!

Blogger Casey S. said...

Thank you for the reminder. I know I need to be reminded. I love reading these posts daily. Thank you so much for this.
Merry Christmas

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I told my husband about this devotion, he said that God sent it to me! I have been so stressed and worried that I might not get everything done! My house is exactly as you described! How true are your words to take time in my mess to just be with Jesus. I now have an entirely different outlook. Thank-you!

Post a Comment


Site Search
Recent Devotions
Articles About...
Grab our button!