It’s now, officially, “the most wonderful time of the year”. Or, as many would agree, the BUSIEST time of the year! I don’t know about you but the last 6 weeks or so of every year is a whirlwind for me. This year is shaping up to be no different.
Those words, wonderful & busy, definitely aren’t synonymous, but there are elements of each that can characterize your Christmas season. Wonder, awe, joy, hope, and anticipation can be interwoven with traditions, celebrations and the advent of our Messiah. It will take intentionality to make it happen. But the rewards are worth it.
Even during this season (or maybe ESPECIALLY during this season), God invites us to
Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10a)
Be still and know that He is Emmanuel, God with us. Be still and know that He is your mighty God, your Prince of Peace. Be still and know that He is your Shepherd, the lover of your soul. Be still and allow God to speak His words of truth, power, and comfort into the deepest parts of your being.
Being still allows our busy minds to quiet and hear His still small voice.
Being still allows our physical body to pause and be refreshed.
Being still allows our striving for the perfect Christmas to be replaced with a desire to worship God who took on flesh.
Our hearts can be filled with wonder. We can then take this wonder into the busyness of the season.
This will happen as we intentionally take time to draw near to God, enjoy His presence and reflect on this miraculous season of promises kept and rescue plans initiated.
How can you practically plan to enjoy God’s presence this Christmas season?
Here are 5 ways. I’m sure you can think of others too!
- Sit outside sipping hot chocolate while you watch a sunset or gaze at the stars.
Jesus was present at creation calling forth the galaxies. He names every star. He keeps the earth spinning and hangs the sun from nothing. He calls forth day and night. And yet He stepped down from that glory and that authority to be born as a baby. Helpless. Dependent. What humility that takes. What love compels such a sacrificial act.
Take time to think about what it cost Jesus to come to earth as a baby. Thank Him for coming to earth so that we could be restored to fellowship with God.
- Meditate on a Christmas verse or passage.
As you read your selected Scripture note one thing that stands out to you. Perhaps it’s a word or a phrase. Perhaps it’s a reaction that a person had. Perhaps it’s a characteristic of God. Sit with that word, phrase or idea and ask God what He wants to say to you about it.
If you’re looking for a Scripture, here are a few to choose from.
If you’d like some more ideas about meditating on Scripture and how to go about it, check out How Can I Practice Biblical Meditation?
Tip: If you do this one early on in the month, then you can continue meditating on the truth of the Scripture during the rest of the Christmas season!
- Enjoy your favorite hot beverage while you sit in the stillness.
I’m planning to do this while I sit with our Christmas lights on one early morning. It’s still dark outside in the early morning and the soft glow of lights provides the perfect environment to just be still with God. You could also do this while you watch snow fall if you live in an area where that will happen this month!
As you sit, acknowledge God’s presence with you. Thank Him for being Emmanuel, God with us. Spend time acknowledging Him as God. Have a conversation with Him about whatever things are on your heart.
- Spend time worshiping God with your favorite Christmas songs.
Listen to one song over and over so the truth sinks in. Or listen to your favorite album or playlist. The time and place of this one isn’t as important as your heart. Do this in a way that allows you to think about the words, engage your heart with God and respond in prayer and praise to Him.
Here are some videos of Christmas songs with amazing lyrics
- Go for a walk.
Spend time outside moving your body and engaging your heart too. It doesn’t have to be far. But something about being outside in nature causes our bodies and souls to relax and our heart to engage with God differently. Take a few minutes to walk and talk with God. Or maybe you want to meditate again on the Scripture you chose. Or even listen to some Christmas music and worship God. Whatever you do, enjoy being in God’s presence while you’re outside!
So, there you are! 5 ways to be still and enjoy God’s presence this Christmas season.
God is waiting to fill your heart with the wonder of Christmas. Don’t let the busyness of the season crowd it out! Let’s join with the Psalmist and say
You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me. (Psalm 119:114 MSG)
Why don’t you pull out your calendar now and plan a time each week to pause and be still? It doesn’t have to take long. 10-15 minutes of intentional quietness and stillness can breathe peace into a weary soul.
Maybe you can even plan an activity as a family. Even your littles would love sipping hot chocolate outside or going for a walk! And it would be a great way to slow down, enjoy time together and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe you’ll find a new rhythm to surround the Christmas season each year!