Christmas is one of the most special times of the year for families and friends to gather together with common purpose: to celebrate the birth of our Savior. In the same way the world waited in anticipation of the coming Savior, it’s important that we prepare our own hearts for the celebration and reminder of December 25th. Here are five actions to prepare for Christmas this year.

  1. Be an encourager. While the Christmas season is joyous for many, it’s also a reminder of who may not be there for many families. It’s a time of great anxiety and depression for many in the church as a formerly joyful family event may be missing a few key loved ones. In this season, make every effort to be an encourager to friends and families who may be struggling. It’s helpful for us to look beyond our own stress and struggles and reach out and encourage others in this season.
  2. Read the story. Between Christmas plays, sermons, devotionals, books, and movies, we are highly familiar with the Christmas story. We know about the shepherds, the wise men, the stable, and the angels. It’s easy to glaze over the details and nod with familiarity at the miraculous event that took place. Whether by reading from a different translation or carefully examining each character in the story, attempt to see the story with fresh eyes this year.
  3. Set up reminders. In the same way as reading the story can be overly familiar, the nativities and decorations can become part of the scenery of our houses rather than reminders of Jesus’ arrival on earth. As you pull out the decorations this year, be careful to remind yourself parewhat you are actually setting up and the significance of each piece. If you have no reminders around your house, enjoy a new nativity or craft something that reminds you of your favorite part of the Christmas story.
  4. Be a giver. It seems to start earlier and earlier each year. Black Friday sales, massive store advertisements, and commercials flood our eyes and ears. It’s hard not to get caught up in the sweeping wave of consumerism. Nonetheless, Christmas points us to God, who gave us a Savior. Be a giver in this season. If you have time, give of your time as a volunteer. If you have money, give of your money to help those in need. Overcome consumerism in this season by being a cheerful giver.
  5. Celebrate! As Christians, this is one of the best celebrations of our year. On Christmas, we celebrate the arrival of our Savior, and on Easter, we celebrate the victory of His life and resurrection. We celebrate what our God has done for us and we rejoice in what this season means for the believer. It’s good for us to gather in our churches to sing hymns of praise and delight in the goodness of God for sending His Son to earth. In all the chaos of the days, don’t forget to simply enjoy and delight in what God has done.