As I did for Thanksgiving, I want to take the next few weeks leading up to Christmas and post several things — anecdotes, quotes, jokes, poems, prose, etc. — related to the holidays. I have been writing and compiling what started out as a newsletter but ended up as a 12-16 page booklet for our ladies’ group at church for six years now. I love it: I think it is my favorite ministry. Usually some part of it touches on the holiday or season at hand, so I have collected a lot of things in my files over the years that I would like to share with you.
Should Christians Abandon Christmas? Sinclair Ferguson makes some great points.
The highest priority in Christmas reading, of course, is the Bible itself. Here are a few Advent Reading Plans.
I’ve already posted one of my favorites, a Christmas-based I Cor. 13. I think I need to read that at least once a week in December. Today I want to list some excellent Christmas devotional reading.
I loved this Story Behind Longfelllow’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”
Elisabeth Elliot is one of my favorite people for many reasons. I received her newsletters for many years and hated to see them discontinued. Some of the Christmas-related thoughts from those newsletters stood out to me (Update 11/5/2020: The Elisabeth Elliot.org site has undergone a complete overhaul. These no longer link directly to the newsletter, but the newsletter can be downloaded from the site):
Christmas Is a Thing Too Wonderful
The Mother of the Lord
Christmas on a Bed of Pain
Crowned Because He Suffered
The Lord: Hidden, Weak, and Helpless
Do You Believe in Santa Claus? (second page)
The Nativity (second page)
Joy to the World
An Unusual Christmas Celebration
A Quieter Christmas (second page)
How Much Is Enough?
A Silver Star in a Cave (second page)
Little Mary (Scroll down)
Are Christmas Trees Okay? (Scroll down)
I had a whole list of Julia’s Bettencourt‘s Christmas devotionals, and I apologize for those who found the links no longer working. She used to have them on her website, but she has cut down on her site content. Often around certain holidays, she’ll repost some of her previous themed posts or add new ones. You might check there in the weeks before a holiday.
The holidays can compound grief for those who have lost loved ones during the year. The Most Difficult Time of the Year: How to Love Grieving Parents at Christmas had much good to say. I wrote about my own Christmas Grief due to the loss of both parents, my grandmother, and a friend during different Decembers.
This post is about not forgetting older loved ones, but it has some gift ideas for the elderly: Remembering the loved one who has forgotten you.
Finally, the morning and evening readings from C. H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening have stayed with me for years.
Here are some devotional thoughts from others that I have posted:
For God so loved that He gave…
Here are a few of my own Christmas posts:
Not the Messiah They Were Looking For
Not the Savior They Were Looking For
There is no one right way to celebrate Christmas
Celebrating His Coming by Neglecting His Presence
And just for fun:
Christmas funnies or jokes #1 and #2.
If you’re looking for book-length Christmas devotional reading, some that I have enjoyed are (linked to my reviews):
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus:Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas, compiled by Nancy Guthrie
From Heaven: A 28-Day Advent Devotional by A. W. Tozer
Gospel Meditations for Christmas by Chris Anderson and Joe Tyrpak, and Michael Barrett
Joy to the World by C. H. Spurgeon
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent by Nancy Guthrie
Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation by Joel R. Beeke
A Christmas Longing by Joni Eareckson Tada
The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna by Liz Curtis Higgs
Happy reading and meditating!
Thank you for visiting me. And thank you too for all those wonderful places to visit. It’s rather late at night, but I think I’ll come back and visit a few as soon as I can.
Thanks for coming by my site today and leaving a comment. It was nice to have you. Thanks for the links
I love that you’re focusing on the holidays. There are so many ideas and memories to share! Thanks for visiting my blog! Have a great weekend.
Love your devotionals. Would love to receive youe newsletters.
Thanks for the wonderful ideas and readings! 🙂
You are very welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Hope you have a blessed Christmas.
A friend just showed me this site! What a blessing- I can read some of the devotionals in sharing time for church service. THANK YOU!!!! Karen Arp
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I don’t know enough about your pastor’s sermon to know why he referred to this as a controversy. I don’t think there’s any controversy about the fact that Luke’s Gospel uses the Greek word for “virgin” or that the Gospel presents Mary as a virgin at the time of Christ’s birth.
The translation of “young woman” comes from Isaiah 7:14. This is the scripture Luke tells us is fulfilled in Mary’s pregnancy.
Luke is quoting the Septuagent (a Greek translation of the Old Testament) and this translation used the Greek word for “virgin.” If we look at the Masoritic Texts (the Hebrew version of the OT) we see that the word is more properly translated “young woman.”
I think what your pastor is probably referring to is the fact that several versions of the Bible, starting with the Revised Standard Version, have translated Isaiah 7:14 as saying”young woman.” This upset some conservative Christians who assumed the choice was intended as an attack on the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. This was one of several such changes that prompted the creation of the New International Version as a defense of traditional doctrine (NIV translates Isaiah 7:14 as “virgin.”)
But the RSV committee was not trying to undermine the idea of the Virgin birth at all. They simply wanted to translate the Bible as faithfully as possible using the best scholarship available.
I think the best way to understand these scriptures is to be aware that Isaiah’s words can be read in two ways, each of which was true in its time. If you look at the whole of Isaiah 7 you will see that it a scene in which God is speaking to King Ahaz who is worried about threat of imminent war. God assures Ahaz that, in the time it takes a young women to conceive, bear a son, and raise him to the age of 12, the threat will be gone.
That is all that the people of Isaiah’s time understood the passage to mean but, in Luke’s time, the evangelist looked at that scripture with new eyes and say that God had placed a whole layer of beautiful meaning there that remained hidden until the birth of Christ.
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Thank you for your 10 free gifts of Christmas. We used it with verses about gifts for our Christmas Day devotions 2011. THANK you again! Bonita
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