Therefore, let us off through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. (Hebrews 13:15-16)
I hope each of you had an amazing Thanksgiving. Last week HERE I expressed hope that I would love these people well. I certainly tried!
As Christmas looms ahead we face the challenge of keeping the season all about Jesus instead of food, presents, decorating, twinkle lights and a tree.
The challenges cannot be met without intention.
I wish it didn’t, but it does. Our flesh is misguided, the enemy is distracting us, and the world is pushing us.
We must be on the alert.
Some years back I reflected back on a Christmas and realized I had only watched rich people gift rich people. I have not forgotten that moment. I keep an eye out for that tendency and quite frankly, resist such gift giving now. I am old enough to have seen gifts I gave others be re-gifted (even back to me), have seen gifts I have given still in their original packaging months later at the recipient’s home, and have had my gifts given back to me because the person had no use for them.
Am I alone? Probably not.
I don’t want us to turn around at the end of December having not looked like Hebrews 13:15-16. Though we are to share with those in need every month of the year, December provides extra opportunities to not forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. One way we can make gift purchasing honorable is to stay in our budget, yes, but to also be found generous, and incorporating gifts that keep focus on Jesus and provide for those in need! Here are some ideas I have tried personally:
1) Buy a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan.
I am purchasing my fourth plan this year. I do not know why I have not been doing this my entire life. I would have decades of read-throughs behind me by now. Even reading the entire Bible for just three years in a row has solidified God’s overarching story in my mind and heart. When I hear interpretations of verses or receive segments plucked out of context, I am better able to discern whether the proposed interpretation aligns with the greater story from Genesis to Revelation. This is invaluable, particularly now, as alternative gospels and interpretations are populating.
Want me to buy you one?
I will give away three read-through-the-Bible plans again this year to the first three people who ask for one in the comments section. Just let me know, then I will email you for your address. Let me know if you want the chronological bible HERE or the plan that provides a snippet of Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs each day HERE. If you want another option, feel free to send me the link. If I can, I will get you exactly what you want!
2) December family focus
A little girl is quoted as saying, “Daddy, you say Christmas is about Jesus but it feels like it’s all about presents.” That sentence inspired a dad to create Advent Blocks. What will each of us do to focus on Christmas in our December devotional time with God, either individually or as a family? Read the Christmas story every day instead of waiting until Christmas eve? Follow an advent plan like THIS one? Whatever the answer, decide on something, or December will make us more or less than God wants us to be.
3) Ask for charitable donations
Consider giving your family the names of organizations they can donate to on your behalf. This year I offered my family two places that serve my city: Gilgal and Peace Preparatory Academy. What might you offer to your family for such gift ideas? Giving Tuesday is also November 29.
4) What is your gift to Jesus?
I remember finding out Anne Graham Lotz gave Jesus a gift each year. One year she wrote Him a book! I am 99% sure it was THIS book, Vision of His Glory in 1996. I have thought about her practice ever since. HERE is an article telling about this annual practice (sorry for the interspersed ads). In the article, Lotz states: But as I go through what can be described as the Holiday Hassle, I have a secret joy of discovering, then giving the King a gift I know He wants. The gift He asks for is always sacrificial in nature. Something I wouldn’t do or say or a place I wouldn’t go except that He would ask me for it. When He asks, I don’t hear an audible voice. Just a soft whisper. An impression. I am going to ask Jesus what He wants for His birthday. If something is impressed on my heart, then I hope to find the courage to give it to Him.
Just food for thought
No pressure here, my dear readers. There are a million ideas. Just pick one. Returning to where this post started, without intention we all use our time poorly because the flesh, the enemy and the world are pulling us in all kinds of directions and never toward God.
Let’s live December well. Let’s get ready to celebrate the King.
Picture Explanation: Shop with Jesus in mind.
If you are interested in being contacted about participating in a One Gritty Blink Bible study in 2023, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and contact me by email. Let’s focus on things that count for eternity!
© 2022 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.