- One of the first things to go if we are not careful is our time spent with God. The irony is that this is a season when we are supposed to be reflecting on the Savior’s birth, and yet we can so easily become consumed with other things. We are all guilty of this, but the beauty is that there is new mercy for today and we can start fresh.
- Here are five ways to get back in the Bible this holiday season.
- Photo credit: Pexels/Denis Gvozdov
1. Do a Study on the Christmas Account
If you are feeling extra excited about this season, then bring that joy into your quiet time. Take a pause on your Bible study or current Bible reading plan and jump into the chapters that focus on the birth of Jesus.
Your reading plan could include:
Ask questions like:
What does this passage teach me about Jesus?
Who was this written to?
Why is this important? (If anything is in the Bible, it is important, so why does God include this?)
How can the Holy Spirit refine me to look more like Christ because of this message?
2. Advent Study
Advent is a four-week-long time of celebration and reflection. There are many resources within Bible Study Tools and Crosswalk to guide you in a study of Advent. There is normally a guide to Advent Reading Plans. What is great about this is that you can really focus on a specific concept each week in your study and in your personal life.
The four weeks are always the same each year because they symbolize different meanings to direct our hearts to the birth of Christ.
Week 1: Hope – The Prophet’s Candle
Week 2: Peace – The Bethlehem Candle
Week 3: Joy – The Shepherd’s Candle
Week 4: Love – The Angel’s Candle
I remember growing up and each Sunday at church a family or congregant would read the question, “Why do we light the _______ candle?” This was based on the week we were in. You can take your study further by doing a word study on hope, peace, joy, and love. You could look into the titles of each candle. You could pray prayers surrounding these prompts. Be creative and enjoy your time with the Lord.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/jchizhe
3. Study on Angels, Shepherds, and Wise Men
You might want to take your time with the Lord to do a full study on angles, shepherds, or wise men. There is a reason that these characters were include in the birth of Christ. To more fully understand God’s purposes, you could take the overall teachings in the Scriptures and research the culture, representation, daily life, and spiritual significance of the supporting roles in this historical account.
- Research Gabriel in the Bible and learn more about his role as the messenger angel to Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph.
- Learn about the worship of angels as seen in Luke 2:8-14. Take time to cross reference Deuteronomy 33:2, Psalm 68:17, Daniel 7:10, Hebrews 12:2, Revelation 7:11, and Revelation 5:11-12.
- Learn about the differences between angels and humanity.
- Study angels’ roles in the salvation story as ministers to Jesus on His journey.
- Research the role of a shepherd.
- Compare Jesus as the Good Shepherd in John 10 with other references to shepherds. Look at the life of David as a shepherd and ponder the family line of David, with Jesus as part of that history. (Matthew 1:1, 1:16-17)
- What was a wise man? Do a study on the role of a wise man.
- Why was this a big deal that wise men traveled so far to meet and worship Jesus?
- Check out interesting theories about the wise men’s connection with Daniel. How does this motivate you that God’s prophecies all prepared the way for Jesus’ entry into the world?
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Therd oval
4. Start a Bible Reading Plan Now. Don’t Wait for the New Year
It might feel like a clean cut to begin a Bible reading plan in the new year, but what is stopping you from starting right now? We all get behind on reading, so why not get a jump start to provide some buffer? Just because it is the end of this calendar year, does not mean that God cannot do new things in us. We can still get excited about fresh opportunities.
If we are aching to hear from the Lord, He has already spoken to us everything that we need in His perfect and inspired Word.
Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Try a reading plan for a specific book of the Bible, one from the New Testament, or the entire Bible in a year or longer. This is not about making a check list, but about showing up to be involved in the relationship you have with the Father. He desires to tell us about Himself and His will.
Here are some ideas for specific plans.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Nathan Dumlao
5. Reflect on the Year with Bible Based Prayers
Maybe this has been a year of a lot of growth, hardships, victories, or losses. Take this time to press into that and reflect in Bible-based prayers. Pray Scriptures over the situations and the heart cries that you have to the Father. Rest in His goodness. Take time to remember His faithfulness through the year. Study the Psalms as prayer prompts. Use resources for praying through your needs.
There are many Scriptures that support using God’s Word to pray to Him. Examples include:
Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
God, thank you that even though I struggled with _______ this year, that You are always faithful. Thank You that even though the grass withers and the flowers fall, Your Word lasts forever. Please help me remember that You are unchanging and that Your are my constant Savior. Amen.
Psalm 50:10 – “In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise.”
Dear Lord, I praise You for Your Word. I thank You that because of Your gospel message, I am changed. Thank You for all the ways that You spoke to me this year and taught me about Yourself. Continue to help me to lean on you today and always. Amen.
We have the choice each day if we are going to say yes to His invitation or reject it. He has a great gift in the Bible and we are the blessed recipients of His Word and His gospel.