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Christmas should not be a one-and-done celebration. Instead, believers should view the month of December as a time of preparing our hearts to worship the King. Many Christians follow an Advent format to prepare their hearts and participate in worship throughout the month.
However, not all believers celebrate Advent in a traditional manner. I am one of those believers. We do not celebrate Advent, although I see nothing wrong with it. It is simply a tradition I wasn’t raised with and never managed to start successfully. I did try when my children were young to celebrate Advent traditionally, but the tradition never took hold.
Prepare Your Heart Through Reading
Nonetheless, I think it is important to spend some time leading up to Christmas preparing our hearts for worship and celebration. I have chosen to do this by reading devotionals and books focused on the season and the Reason.
Two books I’ve read in years past include The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs and The Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers. This year I’m planning to read The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. I’d love to hear what books you recommend.
On the devotional side, I usually just read short passages from Scripture that speak of Jesus. I also often read through one or more gospels during December. Refreshing my mind with the stories of Jesus makes me more thankful for what He sacrificed in coming to this world. I love reading the Gospel of John during December because it speaks so clearly of His divinity. However, Luke is also a favorite.
I encourage you to prepare your heart for the season by changing up your devotional routine. Maybe add a book, like one I suggested. Or lay aside the devotional guide to have more time in the Word. Maybe do a study on the names and titles of Jesus (more on that next time!). Or perhaps you could read one chapter per day in Luke. Luke is 24 chapters long, so starting on December 1st will have you finished on Christmas Eve. Perfect!
Maybe you think you don’t have the time for a chapter a day. I’ve created a calendar of devotional readings that goes from December 1st through the 24th. It includes short portions from the Old and New Testaments but focuses on the Gospels. It’s in the Resource Library – pick it up and let me know what you think.
Prepare Your Heart Through Music
A second way to prepare your heart is through listening to Christ-honoring music. Christmas music is popular for a reason – it helps ‘get us in the mood.’ So it is with Christmas music that focuses on Christ – it will ‘get us in the mood’ for worship and praise.
I remember as a child my father playing Christmas records on Thanksgiving Day. That was the unofficial start of the Christmas season for us. Music made the difference. And it still makes a difference today.
I encourage you to listen to some old favorites but be open to new songs of worship. My favorite Christmas song is Mary, Did You Know? I have a channel for Christmas music on Pandora and will listen to it faithfully until we celebrate Jesus’ birth. What is your plan for adding music to your preparations?
Whether you read or listen to great worship music or do something else to prepare your heart, I encourage you to do something to celebrate Christmas all month long.