3 Great Christmas Devotionals!

three-great-resourcesChristmas is a fantastic time to celebrate Christ. Historically, the church has dominated the Christmas season. Though Hallmark movies, T.V. specials, and stories of an overgrown elf-man sporting a white beard and red suit have cut into the Church’s monopoly on the holiday, the word Christ still remains prominent. According to Lifeway, 6 of every 10 Americans will attend a Christmas service this year. If you and your family find yourselves drifting from the gospel, I encourage you to reengage with the gospel this Christmas season! I have attached links to three great resources below. These three little books will help you and your family refocus your hearts on the gospel!

1. Good News of Great Joy: John Piper

good-news-of-great-joyJohn Piper encourages our hearts by expounding the texts of the Christmas story. Piper begins each devotion with short Scripture passage. He spends two to three pages reflecting upon our glorious savior so that God may “deepen and sweeten” our adoration of Jesus. Christians looking for quiet-time books and family devotions will find this little book helpful. Click here to download the book for free! 

Quick Peek:

For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people – the little Mary and the little Joseph who have gone from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children.

2. The Dawning of Joy Indestructible: John Piper

the-dawning-of-indestructible-joyJohn Piper wrote his second Advent devotional to remind and stir up Christians who have found themselves forgetting the glories of the gospel during the Christmas season. Interacting with short Scripture passages, Piper highlights the great truths of the Bible by connecting them to the nativity store. Christians looking for a quiet-time devotion or for a family devotion will find this book helpful. Click here to download the book for free!

Quick Peek:

Look to Jesus this Christmas. Receive the reconciliation that he bought. Don’t put it on the shelf unopened. And don’t open it and then make it a means to all your other pleasures. Open it and enjoy the gift. Rejoice in him. Make him your pleasure. Make him your treasure.

3. Come Let Us Adore Him: Paul David Tripp

9781433556692Paul David Tripp seeks to restore our awe in Christ this Christmas season by helping us reflect on the amazing truths of the Scriptures. Writing with a counselor’s heart, Tripp encourages his readers by expositing the Scriptures of the Christmas story, by sharing illustrative stories, and by calling for readers to respond to the gospel with meaningful action. Tripp also writes with families in mind. He ends each three to five page devotion with a further study verse and with a “For parents and children” section that includes the day’s main theme and discussion questions. Lastly, Tripp separates his Advent devotion from others by penning devotions for all of December’s 31 days. Both individuals and families will find Tripp’s devotional to be a source of encouragement this Christmas season!

Quick Peek:

In truth, that beautifully decorated tree, those gorgeously wrapped presents, and all that tasty holiday food, which make us happy during the Christmas season, are poor representations of the world into which Jesus was born and what his everyday life would be like. Jesus didn’t show up for a celebration…It means something profoundly important that the cradle of his birth was a feeding trough in a borrowed barn….These conditions…announce to us that the Messiah came not to be served but to serve.”

Don’t Miss The Point of Xmas

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Sdon't miss the point of Christmasince Adam and Eve, men and women had been longing for the arrival of the snake crusher. They had been yearning for a deliverer to rescue them from evil. Noah wasn’t able to did it. After the flood, he got drunk and embarrassed his whole family. One of his sons even got cursed because of Noah’s foolishness. Abraham couldn’t do it either, trusting lies and human ingenuity. Moses got mad and smashed the rock. Samson chased pretty girls. David was a murderer. All of the rescuers that God had sent to deliver his people ultimately failed. They had failed to give God’s people rest and peace. And when we come to Luke 2, the people of Israel don’t even have their own ruler. They are under the thumb of the Romans. Instead of liberty, they are captives, political slaves if you will. They needed a deliverer, a savior. And not just from Rome, but from their own hearts. For as Romans 6 says “the wages of sin is death.” This is setting of Christmas is story.  It is one of shattered hopes and never ending waiting.

And then boom, the door opens; the skies literally explode with the glory of God. His angels come with the message, “A Savior, who is Christ the Lord has been born.” The one who will crush the power of the serpent, the one who will liberate all his children from sin, the one who will restore peace has arrived. He bursts into the human story. He left the glories of heaven to come into the world as a little, lowly, baby. He fully identified with us in our sorrow, so that he could perfectly deliver us through his death on the cross. The Lord has come. Our savior has arrived.

Jesus. He is the point of Christmas. If we make Christmas about presents, about family, or about little elves and Santa, we miss the whole point of the holiday. We miss God.

 Jesus didn’t come so that we could have a nice holiday. He didn’t come to give of us earthly happiness. He came to give us peace with God. He came to be the perfect deliverer. He came so that we might be holy. Don’t forget about Jesus. Make time to tell your kids the Christmas story. Make time to worship the incarnate savior, the word become flesh. Don’t miss the point of Christmas! 

Christ the Lord is born today
He came from heaven’s throne
God is born a man today
To bring His children home
To bring His children home

6 Resources That Keep Christ in Christmas

6 Resources Christmas 2016Call me sentimental, but I’ve always loved Christmas. As a kid, I was all about  velcroed sheep, lighting candles, and singing Christmas carols. Christmas was one of the few times my unbelieving, childish heart was ok with Jesus stuff. Of course, I was way more excited about the presents under the tree than the advent wreathe on the kitchen table. But even as a youngster I saw that both had their place.

Christmas is always a great time to make much of Christ. It’s a great time to start family devotions and to talk to our kids about the glorious of the gospel. Below I’ve listed some the best resources available (i.e those that go beyond writing “Merry Christmas” on red coffee cup) that help our families keep Christ in Christmas!

 

The Biggest Story – $12.57

Keven DeYoung with illustrations by Don ClarkBiggest Story Every Told

Kevin DeYoung invites families to come cuddle up by the fire as they listen to the Christmas story. But instead of starting with gospel of Luke, or the shepherds or even baby Jesus, DeYoung begins the story in Genesis. From Genesis on, he shows how all of the Bible’s stories point to Jesus. The Christmas story is not about a baby. It is about a king who redeems his people from their sin. It is about a savior who brings Adam and Eve’s kids back into paradise. It is about a King who rescues the lost. Divided into ten short chapters, the book could be your advent reading this December or could be a great way to read the Christmas story on December 25!

 

Prepare Him Room – $13.49

Marty Machowskiblog ready prepare him room

Designed around nativity scenes, lighting candles and scripture, the book is wonderful, newer resource with a traditional feel. The devotions are built on the Biblical Christmas story and also are tied to the compelling story of thieving orphan. In addition to being biblical and easy to understand, the devotions are also infused with object lessons and Christmas carols. Marty Machowski has helpfully planned out your family’s Christmas devotions.

 

Good News of Great Joy – $7.19

John PiperGood news of great joy daily advent

These thoughtful two-three page devotions are gospel
packed and will make you think. My wife and I have been reading this little book together. It has proved to be an encouragement to my soul and has helped to keep the Christmas story fresh. The devotions are not directly tied to Christmas carols or the traditional advent wreath. But as devotions, I have found none better. This is a great resource for those on the go and with older children.

 

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy – $7.99

John Piperblog ready dawn of indestructible joy

Very similar in style and to Good New of Great Joy, this book focuses more on the secondary or theological texts of Christmas looking at Acts, Hebrews, and the Pauline Epistles. It is a great resource, highlighting the beauty of our savior in short, two to three page devotions.

 

Buck Denver Asks: Why Do We Call it Christmas? – $12.99

Phil Visherblog ready why do we call it Christmas

Do you know? If not or if your kids have questions about the origin of Santa, gift giving, caroling and a host of other Christmas traditions, you should join Buck Denver for his Christmas party. Made by the creator of Veggie Tales, this almost hour long DVD is filled with puppets, songs, and animations that will help us all focus more on the Christ child! 

 

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories in 5 Minutes – $10.74

Gospel ProjectBible Story in five minutes

As the T.V. ad goes: long title amazing results. Admittedly, this book is not solely devoted to Christmas, but it does have one of the best retellings of the Christmas story. Beautifully illustrated, the book offers both an engaging and accurate account of Jesus’ birth, beginning with the Angel appearing to Mary and ending with Jesus’s flight to Egypt. And the best part about this story is that it only takes five minutes to read. This book is perfect for children everywhere.