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How to Maintain Devotional Habits During Christmas Break

by John Hindley


Photo by Lorna Wright on Unsplash

Once in royal David’s city, on a silent night while shepherds watched and angels heralded, the incredible majesty that is God with us unfolded in a humble manger. And often that scene of glory to God and peace on earth is nowhere near our thoughts at Christmas. We know Christ’s birth should be the heartbeat of our Christmas, yet simple habits of praying and reading the Bible get squeezed out. All too easily, we go through Christmas without much of Christ.

Part of the problem is busyness—wrapping presents, traveling to in-laws, making up guest beds, desperately finishing off work. It’s easy to get distracted from our need for Jesus. Life is busy the rest of the year, and if we’re honest, we are often distracted from the Bible and prayer. Yet it does seem even harder at Christmas.


Habits


Here are some tips my wife and I have found helpful.


1. Pray now.


Ask God to help you read your Bible and pray. He is a kind Father and delights to answer our prayers. God has used this prayer to change my life. So join me in praying now that the Holy Spirit will keep you in step with himself this Christmas.


2. Pray continually.


Ask God to show you how to pray continually. As you go about your day, develop an inner crying out. Give thanks, ask for help, express your confusion. When you’re away over Christmas, pray for the sister you’re struggling with, give thanks for the shiny beeping toy (then it will become a means of worship of Christ), and ask for help to talk about Jesus with that niece with the drum.


3. Read something different (and put it by your bed).


It might be a good time to stop your regular devotional study or notes and do something different over Christmas. One idea is to keep it simple and spend a few days reading the accounts of Jesus’s birth.


When I’m tired and life is busy, it’s been immensely helpful to put my Bible by my bed (and leave my phone downstairs). I’m not a morning person, so I wake up groggy. This might mean I take in less, but it also keeps the mental to-do list at bay. I flick on the light, reach for my Bible, open at the bookmark, and read. I’ve found Scripture journals particularly helpful for this and now keep a pencil by my bed. Even though the notes don’t always make sense when I’m fully awake, writing them helps!


4. Coordinate your space.


If you’re away with your spouse or family, work out who needs some physical space to be with the Lord. Could you watch the children for 20 minutes so your wife can read her Bible? If you really need the space, ask for help to get it. Work as a team to keep your eyes on Jesus together.


5. Be creative.


Bible reading and prayer are at the heart of following Christ, but there are other means of grace. Give thanks often. Listen to things that point your heart to Christ. For me, it’s Narnia audiobooks in the car (for the children, obviously!) and Christmas carols. Go for a walk (offer to take that bed-jumping dog) and let creation remind you of the Creator.


Finally, don’t worry. That holy baby wasn’t born to make sure we pray and read the Bible. That Son was given because we were in darkness and he is the Light. You may lose sight of Jesus as your Bible sits at the bottom of your unpacked suitcase, but he hasn’t lost sight of you. He loves you, saves you, draws you, and wins you. Happy Christmas.


Article excerpt is taken from The Gospel Coalition (U.S. Edition). Read the full article resource here:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/devotional-habits-christmas/

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