Use Christmas to Worship Jesus!
Have you ever had one of those family holiday get-togethers, especially one with lots of extended family, that leaves you feeling “icky” inside because it really didn’t glorify God at all? You panicked inside as your kids tore into gift after gift with greedy madness in their eyes, or you felt disgusted as the family gorges on enough food to feed a football team. Yet not a word was spoken about God or Jesus whom you thought you were there to celebrate!
Christmas is a special time to worship Jesus, and one of our best opportunities to speak about him to all our friends and family members.
So this Christmas, turn the time to Christ—read the Scriptures, sing some songs, brag on Jesus, worship him in prayer. Here are some ideas:
- When the prayer before the mealtime comes around, ask if you can read Luke 2, Isaiah 9, or other passages. And then pray a God-honoring, Christ-exalting, thankful prayer.
- After the meal, ask “can we sing a couple Christmas songs?” You could print the lyrics or just have everyone search for the song on their phone. After each song, ask “What do you think such-and-such line means?” Share what it means personally for you—salvation that comes through this Jesus.
- Before opening presents, pass out several short Scriptures that different family members could read. These could include Gospel truths of how man has fallen into sin, is lost in darkness, and God sent his Son to save us.
- After presents are opened on Christmas morning (if you do that), or Christmas Eve at supper or around the living room, tell everyone you’d like to do something special and read the Christmas story together:
Sing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
Sing “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”
Sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
Sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
Sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
Sing “Joy to the World”
[You can shorten a program like this by starting at Luke 2:1, or by singing just 1-2 verses of each song.]
I sent out some summer reading suggestions to our college students. It’s bent in a couple directions just because I know what they’ve been reading or not reading–so it might not be a good fit for you. But if you’ve never read in these areas, they could be very enriching for you.
THEOLOGY (~10-12 hours)
1) Justification and Regeneration by Charles Leiter
–a very easy, but deep intro to some key issues of theology. You need to know these well if you want to know the Gospel well. I think these are available from lakeroadchapel.com
via sermons as well.
2) Louis Berkhoff’s Summary of Christian Doctrine (free on Kindle)
—this is one to read kind of like memorizing Scripture, read a sentence or 2 at a time then meditate on it throughout the day. I’d start with chaps 18-22 which are common grace / Holy spirit, calling and regeneration, conversion: repentance and faith, justification, sanctification and perseverance
CHURCH HISTORY (~10-12 hours)
1) Michael Haykin has 4 lectures to give you an overview of church history. Listen to these with a pen in hand and write all over the chart below. Jot down key figures and dates and find the locations on a map as you’re listening.
2) Load up some church history biographies from John Piper
–Listen to Athanasius and Augustine alongside the first 2 of Haykin’s lectures.
–Listen to Luther, Bunyan, Calvin with the 3rd.
–Listen to Mueller, Judson, Paton, Newton with the 4th.
1) Amy Carmichael’s poetry Toward Jerusalem
2) Francis Havergal’s complete works (free on Google eBooks); Granted Ministries
has printed a selection of these in a small booklet.
–try reading a poem each day, or maybe a couple sometime on a Sunday
A friend recommended this to us a few weeks ago and we’ve started using with the kids at mealtimes and nighttimes.
Building on the Rock Devotional Set (5)
It’s fantastic! It reads a bit like Aesop’s Fables meets missionary biography. The brief chapters (2-5 pages) share stories of God at work in all kinds of situations. Through the stories you see glimpses of truth of God and our how we need him or can trust in him (like Aesop’s stories). It suggests some questions and Scripture reading for more reflection and easily leads our family to prayer and praise of God.
It’s been very encouraging to Rebecca and I, let alone the kids wanting to read more and more of it!
HT: Mona Leiter (I hope to post her recommended reading list here soon.)