’Tis the season. The season of peppermint EVERYTHING, christmas lights, holiday movies, classic carols, and UPS trucks galore. There is no other season like it. Recently, as I was exiting my local gym, I encountered a UPS-Truck-road-block of epic proportions! The UPS distribution center next door was in full holiday mode, as hundreds of trucks left the center to deliver christmas cheer in the form of brown boxes.
Last Year, USPS, UPS, and FedEx delivered just under 1.2 billion packages in the month of December alone, breaking all kinds of records. Think of what 1.2 billion packages actually looks like. This year, the total is expected to grow even more. If you add in all of Santa’s packages on top of that, December is a pretty busy month for deliveries!
In fact, deliveries have always been a big part of the Christmas story. When God delivered his Son Jesus to earth, it was the most eagerly awaited and hoped for holiday delivery of all time. The classic song ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ says it well: “the hopes and fears of all the years, are met in Thee tonight.” Hope, promise, peace, joy, love, faith, unity, purpose, freedom, and forgiveness were all delivered to us in Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but it’s too easy for me to start looking for UPS trucks to deliver me that joy...Perhaps it’s easy because we know what the physical gifts cost - it’s easy to appreciate a $100 gift. But, the gift of peace seems harder to assign a value. It can be deceiving to start measuring joy by its monetary cost. A gift can cost much and leave you feeling broke, or a gift can cost very little, but the heart behind it makes you feel rich. In Jesus, we have a gift that eventually cost his life, the highest price that God could pay, and the heart of love behind it makes us feel even more blessed. In Jesus, the cost of the gift and heart of the gift are perfect.
What if the gift of Jesus was being delivered to every home this Christmas? What if every stop along the UPS route there was a deposit of Jesus made? What if your family cherished the gifts that Jesus brings more than those brought by UPS?
Gifts are great. We are to be grateful for all the gifts we receive. It is a blessing to receive, but it is even more of a blessing to give (Acts 20:35, NIV). For me, turning to Jesus for the joy I’m really looking for, starts by giving Him worship. The Magi gave gifts to Jesus when He was born, and they did it to honor Him and worship Him. When we truly worship Him, we deepen our appreciation for the gifts Jesus brings. So here are 5 CREATIVE WAYS TO WORSHIP God during these holidays:
1) Make A God-Sized Christmas List
- What are the gifts you want that only God can give you?
- Do you need more joy and laughter?
- Do you need wisdom or counsel from God’s perspective?
- Is the stress you are carrying causing you to feel more anxiety than peace?
Jesus tells us to ask for anything, because God is like a Father who delights in hearing what His kids want from Him (Matthew 7:7-11, NIV). And, mark down how much those gifts are worth to you. How much is a moment of God’s peace worth in your life? Don’t just count the cost of a toy, or the new Beats by Dre, but count the cost of God’s gifts for you. Pray for these things.
2) Start an Advent Devotional
Advent is defined as "something coming into place, view, or being.” For centuries, the season of advent has prepared Jesus’ followers for His coming to earth. We talk a lot about daily devotions around here at Brave because we believe that God speaks to us through His Word. We know that if we seek Jesus with all our heart, we will find Him. Whether you’re in a routine of doing devotions, or you’ve never done a devotion before, this is a great time to start, and it’s really easy. Don’t worry about catching up, just jump in with today’s. Try out advent reading plans on YouVersion or try popular sites like She Reads Truth or He Reads Truth.
3) Hark! The Herald Angels Sing New Songs Too
You’ve been listening to Christmas songs since mid-November because the Christmas season gets started earlier every year. We’ve created a Spotify playlist of hand-picked songs for you to listen to at home, at your office, or on the go. You’ll hear some great renditions of the familiar songs, and some inspirational new songs to give you a new perspective on this season.
4) Give A Gift To Jesus This Year
In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches us about giving tangible gifts like food, water, and clothing to those in need. He ended it by saying “I tell you the truth, when you did it [feed, clothe, give] to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:40, NIV). What if everyone in your family found someone who was in need of food or water, or shelter, or clothing, and gave them what they needed? God says you would be giving a Christmas gift to Jesus as well. Two gifts for the price of one - Black Friday can’t even beat that deal!
5) Pray-90 to Bless One
We’ve begun our vision for 2017, and many of you have committed to Pray 90 minutes a week in your community. Pray that God would show you one family that you could give a gift to this year. It can be delivering a meal, or the simple gift of Coffee. Sometimes the greatest acts of worship are the ones we do in the name of Jesus to those that don’t know Him yet.
'Tis the season. Not just of peppermint and UPS. ’Tis the season of worship, and maybe as we worship this Christmas season, we will see Christ come into our city and our hearts in a new way.
For the Brave Spotify Playlist, click here.
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