Are you ready for Christmas? We spend a lot of time getting ready by shopping, putting up massive decorations, and sending out Christmas cards. In fact we spend a lot of time and money during the Christmas season getting ready, but what about getting ourselves ready for Christmas?
The opening verses of Mark give us some practical ways to get ready for Christmas while we’re looking forward to the BIG day to arrive, so that when we wake up on Christmas morning, we’ll have done everything we can do to be ready for the best Christmas ever.
Here are 4 ways to get ready for Christmas from Mark 1.
Give the Gift of Jesus.
The best Christmas gift is the original, God’s free gift of eternal life.
“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and He will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for Him!’” Mark 1:2-3
John the Baptist had a very specific job to help people get ready for the ministry of Jesus. Our job at Christmas can be like that too. We are preparing the way for Jesus to change people’s lives. And there’s nothing better than helping someone cross over that line of faith.
When you help someone connect with Jesus, that’s the gift that keeps on giving. And best of all according to Romans 6:23, it’s FREE. We know that many people who normally never come to church will come for Christmas services. Everybody is in the flow of Christmas, so many people are more prepared to hear the Gospel now than at any other time of the year. So we want to intentionally invite as many people as we can to be a part of our Christmas events at The Connection Church.
Get your heart ready.
This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. Mark 1:4-5
When people heard John’s message, they confessed their sin to God, turned to follow after God and were baptized. If you’re ready to go public with your faith, Christmas is a great time before the next year begins. We’ll be celebrating baptisms in all of our services on December 13-14. You can go here to sign up now or find out more information.
Prepare for Christmas by asking God to search your heart. In Psalm 139:23-24, David said, Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
You’ll renew your connection with God when you ask Him to examine your heart. When you do, it’s a simply a matter of agreeing with God about what we’ve done and asking Him to forgive us and make our hearts clean. In fact, He promises to make us WHITE AS SNOW.
On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. 1 John 1:9 (MSG)
Do Christmas differently this year.
If you want different, you couldn’t get much weirder than John the Baptist. Mark 1:6 describes him like this: His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.
In other words, John was a wild man. He stood out. He was different. To experience what Christmas is meant to be, we need to do it differently this year.
A.W. Tozer convictingly said, “Christ came to bring peace and we celebrate his coming by making peace impossible for six weeks of each year… He came to help the poor and we heap gifts upon those who do not need them.”
Different for you might mean doing what we do as a family and bringing your biggest gift to Jesus this year through our First and Best Offering day on December 13-14.
Finally, and most importantly, keep your focus on Jesus.
John was all about making Jesus greater. He helped people focus on Jesus.
In Mark 1:7, John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”
The season we’re in is traditionally known as Advent, which means “coming.” It’s good for us to build up anticipation for Christmas by intentionally taking time each day to spend with God digging into the meaning of Christmas on your own or with your family. Click here to download a Christmas Bible Reading Plan to use during December.
I want to personally invite you to be with us at The Connection Church this Christmas this weekend as we kick-off Joy Meets World. In this brand new series, you’ll discover how to live a life full of joy this Christmas and all year long!