If you’re like most people alive today, Christmas is a scheduling nightmare with parties, pageants, purchasing of presents and preparing pastries. You know that Christmas should be a time of prayer, peace and the presence of God but every year seems to become more and more busy.
This year, let’s prepare for Christmas the right way by stepping into the presence of God. Here are three ways to focus on God’s presence this Christmas.
1. Prepare your heart by focusing on God’s Word. This year, why not start a tradition of reading the biblical account of the birth of Jesus in Scripture? There are many ways to do this. You can simply open up your Bible and read these passages: Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 2:1-20. Or maybe you want to start a Christmas reading plan using the YouVersion Bible App. Or maybe you want to gather your kids around and check out the Christmas story in the Bible App for Kids. Each day’s video teaches a memory verse or a key truth using music, movement and other concrete ways to help abstract truths stick.
2. Verify your authenticity by keeping your motivation in check. Why do you want to give that special gift to your loved one? Why must the house be decorated just right? Why are you so worried about having the perfect Christmas morning? Is your motivation to bring glory to God or is it about you? Check your motivations and remember this simple yet profound quote from Paul Tripp: “Worry forgets God’s presence.”
3. Don’t expect it to just happen; do the work. James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.” Just because the holiday is all about the presence of God coming to earth doesn’t mean that we will experience that gift. You must do the work and position yourself to draw near to God. Maybe for you, this means that you go outside and be in His creation, or maybe it means you find solitude or simplicity. For some of you, it will mean listening to some praise music and worship Him in your room, or sharing His love with others and seeing God’s presence grow in them.
Don’t let this Christmas distract you from your priorities, rather position yourself this Christmas to experience the presence of God.
This article originally appeared here.