Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter to win the Jesse Tree gift set from Intentional Traditions! It is a beautiful way to prepare your heart for a Christ-centered Christmas!
Soon, the preparation for Christmas will begin with the season of Advent. While Advent varies in length from year to year, traditionally beginning 4 Sundays before Christmas but practically it is often celebrated from December 1st up until the beginning of Christmas.
Taking time to prepare your heart for the coming of Christ has been a practice of Christians for centuries. Passing on the faith and the story of God’s redemption of His people is something that we need to relive each and every year as we celebrate.
While there are many ways we can remember our fallen state and the God’s faithfulness is working His beautiful plan from the beginning of time until the birth of the Christ child in Bethlehem but it’s important to be intentional in setting up traditions in your home that help your heart focus on this truth. Preparing for Christmas through a retelling to your own heart of your fallen state and your Savior’s pursuing love is one way to keep your heart centered on the beautiful gift that we have the celebrate in a world that pulls and tugs to draw your heart away.
Here are 3 ways to practice a Christ-centered Advent to prepare your heart for Christmas:
1. Incorporate a Jesse Tree into Your Family’s Countdown to Christmas
I wasn’t very familiar with the concept of a Jesse Tree until about two years ago but I absolutely love it. The Jesse Tree named based on the prophecy from Isaiah 11 of the Messiah being born from the line of David, son of Jesse:
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him – Isaiah 11:1-2, ESV
It is a method of using ornaments to work through the story of redemption from the Fall of Mankind through the Birth of Christ on Christmas morning. This daily re-orienting yourself as part of the grand story of redemption is a beautiful way to center your heart.
I personally love the grand narrative nature of this method because it helps me put my life into perspective. In this season of hustle and bustle, it’s hard to patiently remember that God works all things in His time. Instead of feeling like I need to give more and more, this is a way to remind my heart to stop and rest in Him.In this season of hustle and bustle, it’s hard to patiently remember that God works all things in His time. Instead of feeling like I need to give more and more, this is a way to remind my heart to stop and rest in Him. Click To Tweet
My favorite Jesse Tree is the one from Intentional Traditions. It is beautifully compiled and designed to do with your whole family. It even comes with a devotional guide! Grab your copy here or enter to win below.
2. Center Your Heart on Prayer
Traditionally, Advent is a time to remember the longing that the people of Israel felt while waiting for their messiah. Likewise, it is a perfect time for us to remember the longing we have for His return.
Taking time each day to pray that the Holy Spirit would equip you and make you sensitive to the souls around you in need of a Savior helps to center your heart around the true meaning of Christmas – the redemption of mankind.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:36-38, ESV
Taking time each day to pray that the Lord will use you to help fulfill His purposes is a beautiful way to center your heart around the true meaning of Christmas.
One way to focus on prayer this advent is through my free, upcoming devotional Prepare Him Room: An Advent Prayer Guide.
3. Serve with Those You Love
Advent is a time to remember that Jesus was born in that humble manger to love and serve. If He came to earth to love and serve, how much more so should we be committed to loving and serving others.
Taking the time to join together and follow the example Christ has set is a beautiful way to focus on Christ’s sacrifice when He humbled Himself to take on the form of a man.
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Mark 10:42-45, ESV
As you prepare for the Christmas season, take time to serve those around you. Love your neighbors in a tangible way. Find a way to use your talents to serve those in your community. Ask your local church what ministries your family can serve in and get involved together. Follow Christ’s example and put your love into action by serving your neighbor this Advent.Follow Christ’s example and put your love into action by serving your neighbor this Advent. Click To Tweet
Whether you put one of all of these ideas into practice this Advent, take time to prepare your heart and draw yourself closer to the Prince of Peace. Remember the reasons He came into the broken, busted world and join Him in the work of redemption that He has entrusted to us.Spend these days faithfully preparing to remember His first coming even as you prepare for His second coming and the new Heaven and Earth He is preparing. Click To Tweet
Spend these days faithfully preparing to remember His first coming even as you prepare for His second coming and the new Heaven and Earth He is preparing.
I’m so excited to partner with Jennifer Love from IntentionalTraditions.com for this giveaway. I have been greatly encouraged by her commitment to honor God in every aspect of her life. Her enthusiasm and creativity are greatly honoring to her Maker as she is devoted to stewarding her gifts well and using them to benefit the Body of Christ. Her site, Intentional Traditions, always challenges and encourages me to do the same.
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