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Holidays - Blog

4 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for Christmas

Emilie Vinson

Every year, the scene is the same: It’s November, I’m driving somewhere, flipping through radio stations, and suddenly Christmas music is wafting through my speakers.

And every year, my response is similar. I’m not ready to think about Christmas. It’s too early. So, I switch stations and put it out of my mind.

Part of this reaction connects back to my years in college when Christmastime was synonymous with exams, final papers and due dates. Christmas music on the radio meant I was running out of time.

But beginning Dec. 1 to Christmas day, Advent is a season custom-made for heart preparation. Its intention is to prompt us to set aside a bit of space each day to ready our hearts for the entrance of Christ.

This season of preparation always catches me off guard.

But rather than let the busyness of the Christmas season overshadow the presence of a holiday designed to celebrate God’s love and sacrifice – the very entrance of the gospel into the world – I should be preparing my heart to respond to Him out of love and gratitude.

Author Ann Voskamp writes,

“We’re ready for Christmas, not when we have all the gifts, but when we are ready for Christ – when we’re ready to give all of ourselves to Christ.”

This Christmas, I want to do a better job of preparing my heart to celebrate the arrival of Jesus into the world. Here are some ideas in the running:

  1. Spend intentional time digging into God’s Word as Christmas approaches. YouVersion provides a free 25-day Advent reading plan to help center each day on Jesus.

  2. Read a brief Advent devotional each day. Here is one written by Cru staff member Erik Segalini. Drawing on truths embedded in many Christmas songs you’ve heard (and probably some you haven’t), this little book ties our favorite holiday tunes directly back to Jesus.

  3. As a family, fill some containers with dirt. Fill a bowl with grass/wheat seeds, and during Advent, search for small acts of kindness each family member can perform. For each kind act, plant a seed. Water regularly. On Christmas Eve, gather the sprouts of grass and lay them in Jesus’ manger.

  4. If you’re a reader, a book that walks through the Advent season might be up your alley.

Spend some time in prayer, asking God how you can best prepare your heart to celebrate the entrance of His Son into the world. Consider observing Advent in community with other believers – your family or small group.

That way, when Christmas morning arrives, your attention will encompass more than stockings and Christmas dinner and the gifts beneath the tree. Instead, your heart will be captured by the ultimate gift – Jesus.

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