The Christmas season is filled with activities such as shopping for presents, visiting relatives, cooking, and decorating. These activities are all enjoyable and put people in the Christmas spirit, but oftentimes they can distract people from the true purpose of the season. God sent His Son, Jesus, to be born of a virgin in a stable in the small town of Bethlehem. Thirty-three years later, he would become the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. This miraculous birth was the very beginning of the “grace by faith” system of salvation that God bestowed upon the world. We must value spiritual preparation for Christmas just as much as decorating, visiting, and making food.
In order to help you get started on the journey of preparing for Christmas, we’ve compiled a list of five ways you can spiritually prepare for Christmas:
1. Read the Christmas Story
The Gospels are a great place to begin on your journey to prepare for Christmas! The only way we will truly know and appreciate the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth is by reading about it in God’s inspired word. You can find the birth story in chapters one and two of Matthew and Luke.
As you read, here are some questions to consider:
- God told Joseph to name the baby “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.” Reflect on the past few months. How have you seen “God with us” in your life?
- Matthew 2 says that Herod and all of Jerusalem were disturbed by the news of Jesus’ birth. Why do you think that was? How does Jesus’ presence “disturb” earthly life?
- When the angel told Mary of her pregnancy, she said, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word be fulfilled in me.” How can you imitate that heart of submission in your life?
- After the shepherds saw Jesus, they eagerly went to tell everyone around them. Think about how you can engage in discussions about Jesus this season.
Spiritual preparation for Christmas happens as you read the Bible because you are engaging with God’s inspired words.
2. Listen to Christ-Focused Christmas Music
Music is enjoyed at all times of the year, but especially during the holiday season. There are many hymns that describe the Christmas story and state the truth of Jesus’ purpose on earth. These songs can put you in a festive mood and help you remember the truth of the Gospels. Here is a list of these song suggestions:
- Mary, Did You Know?
- Angels We Have Heard on High
- Joy to the World
- Silent Night
- O Holy Night
- O Come all Ye Faithful
The words in these songs can assist in your spiritual preparation for Christmas because they will remind you of the truth about Jesus and provide an uplifting tune that you can sing throughout the holidays.
3. Spend Time with People who Build You Up
A big part of the holidays is enjoying festivities with family and friends. If we’re honest, this can sometimes be draining. As you participate in these parties and get-togethers, make sure that you spend time with those people who bring you life. You know who those people are – friends and family that you can share your struggles and successes with, your go-to prayer partners, and the people that consistently point you to God’s Word.
Even if it’s just a morning coffee date, make sure that you make space to chat and laugh together. These times will encourage your soul, help you in your walk with God, and promote a peaceful heart in this season. Spiritual preparation for Christmas happens as you reach out to the people who will encourage you in your walk with God.
4. Go Outside and Enjoy God’s Creation
December can often be cold and snowy, especially in the Midwest. While it’s fun to stay cozy inside when it’s cold outside, sometimes you just have to bundle up and enjoy! Here are some suggestions for outdoor winter fun:
- Make a snow angel
- Go sledding
- Take a black piece of paper outside to catch and look at falling snowflakes
- Go for a walk and take pictures of trees covered in snow
While doing these activities, you can revel in the beauty of the cold weather and God’s creativity. Sometimes, the best spiritual preparation for Christmas occurs when you are simply having fun and enjoying Creation.
5. Watch The Chosen
The Chosen is a television show that outlines the life and ministry of Jesus. It provides insights into the personalities of the disciples, the social climate of that time, and what it would have been like to physically follow Jesus. Their pilot episode, which follows the shepherds who went to find baby Jesus, is a great place to start. You can also purchase their Bible study guides for seasons one and two, which provide Scripture references, questions for discussion, and space for personal reflection.
Watching a few episodes of this show will help with spiritual preparation for Christmas because it brings the Bible stories to life. You’ll be able to read the Gospels with fresh eyes as you consider the people and events described with the episodes in mind.
As you prepare to host, participate in festivities, and generally enjoy the holiday season, don’t forget what preparing for Christmas really means: celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Do you want to take spiritual preparation a step further? Check out Grace Seminary’s programs to get a taste of what Biblical education and ministry preparation could look like for you.