TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Friends, I’m just going to say it, and let the chips fall where they may…
I. Don’t. Like. Christmas. Music.
I’m sorry, y’all…. I know this admission is shocking, and you’re probably second-guessing whether you want to continue reading, but hear me out… It’s not that I don’t love Christmas (I do!), but I really think radio stations should consider a holiday “pop up” station between October and December. The regular station for people like me and the pop-up station for those who love non-stop Christmas tunes. Win-win.
I find myself driving in silence during the holidays because I never remember to ready my phone with Spotify or a podcast. Instead, I turn on the radio without thinking… turn it off after a couple of chords. And then repeat the process every few minutes in whatever time it takes me to get from Point A to Point B.
As I said, I love Christmas. I just don’t love Christmas music. Or decorating for Christmas, but I will leave it at music so I don’t start getting mean emails… I’m really not a Scrooge. But my birthday is Christmas Day… I’ve been bombarded by Christmas-related stuff ever since I was brought home, and Mom stuck me under the Christmas tree in a miniature Santa hat.
But what I do love is the Christmas story. So today’s blog is going to take a different twist, and in our last week before Christmas, I’m going to leave you with some recommendations. None of them are music. Sorry.
- “Because of Bethlehem,” by Max Lucado. Max Lucado is called the writer for people who don’t read for a reason — he has an unbelievable gift with words that draws people in. In this book, he breaks down the story of Christmas. He gets back to the basics and away from the commercialism of Christmas. He explores the deeper meaning of what Christmas means for us as Christians. Bonus recommendation for those who prefer video… “Because of Bethlehem” four-episode video devotions are on Pure Flix.
- “Unwrapping the Names of Jesus,” by Asheritah Ciuciu. Technically, I should have mentioned this one three weeks ago. It’s an Advent devotional. But I’d read it in an hour; it’s not a long book. The author breaks down the various names of Jesus and what they mean to us as we celebrate His birth.
- “The Shepherd,” the pilot episode of “The Chosen.” I’ve told y’all about “The Chosen” before, and the pilot episode is amazing. It’s the story of Christmas from the perspective of the shepherds. A must-watch.
- “The Messengers” is the recently released bonus episode of “The Chosen.” It revisits the Christmas story through the memories of Mary. It’s part of a bigger Christmas special that includes music (appeasing y’all who are still mad at me), but the episode is at the end for those who (eh-hem, like me) prefer to fast forward. You can watch this or “The Shepherd” on The Chosen app for free.
- Back to Max Lucado… He also wrote three Christmas novels if you need a fictional Christmas fix that’s not produced by Hallmark or starring Candace Cameron Bure. These books are titled “An Angel’s Story,” “The Christmas Candle,” and “The Christmas Child.” Again, short, quick reads!
- “The Family of Jesus,” by Karen Kingsbury. Hands down, my favorite Christian novelist, Karen Kingsbury, writes books that I’ll buy without even knowing what they are about. This one is great — she wrote Biblically-based but fictional short stories about the family members of Jesus… not exclusively Christmas, the book does touch on it though. She wrote about Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth. Zechariah, John the Baptist, and James.
Most of all, though, I recommend reading Luke 2:1-20 and savoring the Christmas story. Back up to Luke 1:46-55 and ponder the words of Mary’s song… whether you spend the last week before Christmas humming carols, decorating the house, shopping for last-minute gifts, or (like me) — baking, I have good and great news. The good news: Christmas calories don’t count. Just kidding. I’m trying to get y’all to like me again. I still think you’re mad at me…
But the great news I want to share was declared by an angel 2000 years ago: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11 NKJV).
Get beyond the retail noise of Christmas and get back to the basics. Reflect on the dirty, smelly stable and what that special night has meant for all of mankind. Because Christmas music and decorations aside — THAT is the heart of Christmas. Jesus was born.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for His willingness to don the cloak of humanity and leave His Heavenly throne for a dirty manger. Thank Him for what Christmas means and the gift of His salvation. In the last week before Christmas Day, ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on what Christmas is really and truly about.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.