Hey, Christmas! Not So Fast! – Making Christmas Last

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Some years, Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas.  There are a lot of reasons for that.  It might be that the people we usually celebrate with aren’t present.  Family events have kept you from the usual preparation.  Or, it might be as simple as the absence of snow!  Whatever the reason, it seems the holiday is going to come and go, without making it’s impact on us.

It’s okay. Take a breath. Christmas isn’t over on December 25th.  In fact, for most of Christian history, December 25th is when Christmas celebrations began.  The famous song, the 12 Days of Christmas, remind us of this.  The 12 days of Christmas begin December 25th and go through January 5th, which leads to a celebration on January 6th, called Epiphany.  Epiphany is the celebration of the arrival of the Magi (Wisemen).  

Here’s an idea about how to keep Christmas going – not the hectic, frantic, wearisome part – but the meaningful, celebratory, lasting part! Take each day of the 12 days of Christmas and reflect on different aspects of the coming of Christ and his lasting joy.   Below is a daily calendar that will guide you in getting the most out of Christmas!

December 25th – We celebrate on the wonder of the incarnation.
Read:  Luke 2:1-7
Pray:  Pray with a grateful heart for the truth of Christ’s coming to transform your life.
Do:  Sing a carol that celebrates Christ’s coming.  Have one conversation with someone, either in person, or phone, or text, about what Christ’s coming has meant to you this year.

December 26th – We reflect on the needy around us.
Read:  Isaiah 42:1-9
Pray:  Pray for the needy Christ came to save.  Ask God for a heart to see the needs of others that He came to meet.
Do:  Give something away today, that will help others in need (time, food, resources).  Set aside some money to give to the “Benevolent, or Deacons” fund at church this Sunday.

December 27th – We praise God for the revealing Himself as Trinity.
Read:  Matthew 3:13-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14
Pray:  Ask God to help you know Him as Father who loves you, as the Son who redeemed you and prays for you, as the Spirit who empowers and directs you.
Do:  Write a letter to God, specifically the member of the Trinity you least relate to. What do you need to say?

December 28th – We thank God for the Gospels which share the gospel of Christ.
Read: John 20:30-31; 21:24-25
Pray:  Pray for a life that proclaims the gospel of Christ and lives out the grace and truth of Christ.
Do:  Spend time making a list of 3 people God has put into your life to influence toward Christ.  Pray for them.  Think of one simple act of grace you could do for each one in the next week.

December 29th – We remember the Law given by God to remind us of our need.
Read: Galatians 3:23-29
Pray:  Admit to God, the perfection of His law and our inability to do what is required by his righteousness.  Praise Him for meeting us in our need and leading us to new life.
Do:  Think about one tradition, rule, or law you might be depending on to give you favor with God. Make a change in the way you do it.

December 30th – We rejoice that our Savior is Creator God.
Read:  Genesis 1; Colossians 1:15-17
Pray:  Pray for the creation – including people – that God loves.  Pray for the desire of creation to one day experience the redemption and restoration to be complete.
Do: Take a walk and notice creation around you, reflecting on what it reveals to you about God.

December 31st – We praise Christ for fulfilling the Law for us.
Read:  Matthew 5:17-20
Pray:  Give thanks for the fact that Jesus met all the Law’s requirements.
Do:  Make a list of 3 rules you hold onto that might make it hard for others to experience the grace of Christ.

January 1st – We remember the day of Christ’s circumcision and dedication.
Read: Luke 21-40
Pray:  Thank God for the parents of Jesus who saw that He grew up in the covenant of God.  Pray for parents around you who have the responsibility of leading children to Christ.
Do:  Get involved in a regular serving opportunity to families, children or youth.

January 2nd – We humbly come to Christ with our need.
Read:  Matthew 5:2-11
Pray:  Ask God in honesty and humility to help you recognize the inner hunger you have.  Pray for Christ to fulfill that longing that still may feel unmet.
Do: Recount the need that first led you to Christ.  Share it with someone today.  Think about who else might have that need now.  Pray for wisdom to know how you can share Christ in that need.

January 3rd – We renounce the presence of sin in our lives.
Read:  Mark 1:1-8;
Pray:  Thank Christ for his holiness and ask God a desire to live a holy life before Him in the world.
Do:  Write down a sin that remains prevalent in your life.  Do one thing that would make that sin harder for you to participate in: revealing it to an accountability partner, changing a behavior pattern, removing the temptation from your life.

January 4th – We receive the gift of new life in Christ for us and the world.
Read:  John 1:9-18
Pray:  Thank God you are counted as one of his children through faith.
Do:  Write a personal poem, or psalm today, that expresses Christ as the light of the world, and your light.

January 5th – We commit ourselves to a path of faithfulness.
Read:  Hebrews 11:32-40
Pray:  Thank the Spirit of God for helping saints-of-old perservere in the faith.  Pray for strength to be counted as one of the faithful.
Do:  Fast at least one meal today, to remember the call to deny ourselves and follow Christ.  Use the time for prayer, or encouraging another in their faith.

January 6th – We rejoice at the coming of the Magi, which is his revelation to the nations.  Read:  Matthew 2:1-12
Pray:  Asking God to continue making himself known to the nations.  Express your longing for Christ to be reigning King of all the nations.
Do:  Give a gift of conversation, service, time, care to someone from another “nation” than your own.

I’d love to hear some of your ideas about extending the joy of Christmas!  And please comment and share this with others who might want to have the joy of Christmas continue!

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