Magnify the Lord

0 comments Posted on December 1, 2021

by Rachel Dodge

At Christmas, much of our time and attention are spent purchasing gifts, decorating our homes, attending events and parties, and preparing for family gatherings. We remind ourselves and each other that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but it’s often difficult to actually make Christmas more about Christ and less about all the hoopla.

These words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, express the true meaning behind this glorious season: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47 ESV). Her words simplify Christmas, don’t they? They remind us to magnify the Lord and rejoice in the birth of Christ, the Savior of the world! They put everything else into perspective and help prepare our hearts for the wonder of Christmas.

If you’re looking for ways to keep Christ at the center of your home and heart this season, here are a few ideas to consider:

Make time for Jesus. First, take time to savor your Savior and magnify the Lord in your own heart this season. Make a cozy corner near the Christmas tree that’s just for you and Jesus. Set aside time for your personal devotions each day, before you tackle your to-do list. Try an Advent study or Bible reading plan or simply read the Christmas story in the Bible, focusing on a few verses each day. If your family has evening devotions, make it extra special. Light candles, read a portion of the Bible, and pray together before bed.

Adorn your home with Jesus. It’s easy to get caught up in making our homes beautiful during this season, but what if we allowed our homes to make Jesus beautiful instead? A few ideas: Write or print Bible verses for your friends and family members and use them as gift tags for their presents or name cards next to their places at the dinner table. Set up a toy manger scene for any children who may visit. Tell them the Christmas story and let them play with the pieces. Purchase or make framed Bible verses to mix in with your Christmas décor. Make a playlist of favorite Christmas hymns and worship songs to play in the background.

Share the love of Jesus wherever you go. This is the time of year when people are more open to hearing about Jesus, and you can share the love of God in simple ways this Christmas. Invite a neighbor or coworker to come with you to church on Christmas Eve. Take candy canes, cocoa packets, and Bible verses to your neighbors. Host a game night for your Bible study group or your church’s youth group. Set an extra place at your Christmas table for any friends or neighbors who might need a home away from home.

Be the hands and feet of Jesus. As you do your shopping and go about your business this month, keep your eyes and ears open to the people around you. If you have a friend or coworker who is feeling lonely or down, invite her over to bake cookies or watch Christmas movies on the couch. Pay attention to the frazzled or weary cashier at the grocery store and grab a gift card for her to get a cup of coffee or a snack after work. Offer to babysit for a few hours for the young mom at your church or gym so she can do her Christmas shopping. There are so many ways we can bless others if we pay attention.

Spark a passion for Jesus through the gifts you give. Encourage your friends and family members in their faith with the gifts you purchase for them this year. You can give Christian fiction books and biographies to the adults and Bible storybooks to the children. And think ahead: One of the sweetest gifts you can give someone is a new Bible or devotional to read when the New Year comes around, when a lot of people try to get back into the habit of daily devotions. You can even offer to read together and discuss what you’re learning.

Yield to the Holy Spirit. As your home and schedule fill this season, leave room for prayer and for the Lord to order and adjust your steps. If the Lord puts someone on your heart as you’re cleaning your house, call that person to talk and pray. As you wrap your gifts, say a prayer for each recipient by name. As you cook and clean, sing worship songs and thank God for the blessings in your life. When you gather with friends or family for Christmas dinner, pause to thank God for the meal and for the people gathered to eat it.

Celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas. It may seem obvious, but it’s sometimes difficult in the middle of the gifts and guests to remember that we’re gathering because of Jesus’ birth. This year, plan ahead and take a few moments on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning to celebrate Jesus’ birth in a special way. Some families even bake a birthday cake to help everyone remember that Christmas commemorates the birth of God’s only son, Jesus—the greatest gift this world has ever known.

Simplify and turn your attention to Jesus. If your holiday preparations are causing you to feel stressed or disconnected from the Lord, look over your plans and make some cuts. Remember the story of Mary and Martha whenever you’re tempted to take on too much. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, but Martha was “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Luke 10:40 NIV). Jesus told Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one” (Luke 10:41-42 NIV). If your inner Martha is taking over, slow down your pace and make time to sit at the feet of Jesus.

With these ideas in mind, take a few minutes to pray over your home, your schedule, and your holiday preparations this month. Ask the Lord to show you what needs to be crossed off your list and what needs to take center stage. Choose one thing in this article that you want to do this December and keep it simple. (You don’t have to do it all!)

As you make Jesus the focus of your home and heart this Christmas, everything else will fall into place. Jesus is not only the Reason for the season—He’s the reason we rejoice!

Rachel Dodge is an English professor and the author of The Little Women Devotional: A Chapter-by-Chapter Companion to Louisa May Alcott’s Beloved Classic. Her other titles include The Anne of Green Gables Devotional: A Chapter-By-Chapter Companion for Kindred Spirits and Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. You can visit her online at www.RachelDodge.com.

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