Preparing for Christmas
Remember when you were a kid and you just woke up and “had” Christmas? Any time before that was just joyful anticipation. But things have changed, we don’t just anticipate it, we plan it and prepare for it (maybe even stress about it a bit), because it takes time to get ready so that when Christmas Eve and Christmas day comes – you can just “have” it.
Sometimes we criticize all the extra trappings that come with Christmas – and if they get us off track from Christ, rightly so – but some of the additional things we do also help stretch Christmas into something larger, something that takes preparation, planning, thought. It has value, a cost, we put great effort into it, and we can even use it as an excuse to help fill needs.
In the same way, biblical Christmas isn’t just something that happened the day Jesus was born. It's not even just relegated to the timespan of the typical Christmas stories: from angelic messengers and divine conception to birth and shepherds and wise men. Rather Christmas is much farther reaching, and we know this because time and time again, the gospel writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tell us that these things happened “just as the scriptures say” or “to fulfill what the Lord spoke by the prophet.”
They're a good reminder that even the original Christmas took preparation and planning and effort. It had a cost, it has value, and it fills our need.
Christmas is never just about Christmas. Christmas is the initial implementation of God’s plan to take care of our greatest need: our separation from our loving Creator. A plan that ultimately finds its realization in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
So, what can you plan or prepare this year that helps point yourself and your family to God’s great plan in Jesus? Here are a few ideas and resources to help your Christmas be bigger than even this season; making an impact on your lives for years and even eternity to come. You're already preparing to make it special, so prepare to make it meaningful too.
The Christmas Promise by Alison Mitchell ($8.99)
OLDER KIDS & TEENS:
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy (Daily Readings for Advent) by John Piper (Free)
Advent Calendar Reading Schedule (this is just one example, there are many out there)
Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song by Sovereign Grace Music
Neighborhood Advent (Email Derick for invitations and instructions)
And of course, don't forget the chance to invite your neighbors or coworkers to help make this Christmas a chance for new life in Jesus Christ.
- Christmas Eve Services, - December 24, 2:00, 3:30, 5:00 and 11:00 PM
Derick Zeulner is an associate pastor at South Shores Church. He has a M.A. in Theology from Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, CA and he loves the wacky adventures of doing life with his wife, Rebecca, and 4 kids.