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FANNING YOUR CHRISTMAS FIRE

FANNING YOUR CHRISTMAS FIRE

By Carolyn Dale Newell

And Mary said:

“My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.

Luke 1:46-49 NKJV

A believer’s desire during Christmas is to keep Christ at the center, but by December 25th, I have fallen short. Overloaded schedules cause us to struggle every day for quiet time with God, and now, there is Christmas. We squeeze in shopping, dinners, decorating, and baking into an already busy routine.

Satan’s secularization of Christmas keeps us from the real meaning of Christmas. That is always his plan. Keep Christ followers preoccupied when we celebrate the birth of the one who died for us.

Familiarity creates indifference. Sadly, the birth of Christ fails to incite the enthusiasm it once did. Holiday activities weary us until our spiritual fire has almost gone out. We need to stoke the embers and stir up the flames. We need to get on fire for Jesus again.

Mary mastered worship. First, she magnified God with her song of praise. As a visually impaired person, I know all about magnification. It enlarges. It makes things visible. It enhances clarity and focus.

During the brightest time of the year, believers must magnify Jesus, but how?

Pride silences praise.   Mary did not esteem herself highly because she carried the Messiah. She referred to herself as a lowly servant. This is humility, the place where all worship begins.

Mary remembered what God had done throughout history. She rehearsed His goodness. Thinking back over the past year or reading a Psalm can jog our memories which can erupt into worship. When we magnify Christ, we decrease, and He increases.

We can only accomplish a Christ-centered Christmas through discipline. Amidst the crowded malls and twinkling lights, we have to carve out time for Jesus.

The true spirit of Christmas is worship. We see this repeated by the shepherds, the wise men, Simeon, and Anna. Even Elizabeth and her unborn child shouted and leaped with praise when Mary greeted her cousin.

How can we stir up our SPIRITUAL flames for Christmas? How can we magnify Jesus? Here are a few ideas listed below.

I challenge you to incorporate something different that keeps Christmas centered around Christ this holy season.

Lord Jesus, thank You for leaving the glories of heaven to be born in a barn. Help us learn to magnify Your name NOW AND FOREVER. Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Luke 1:46-55.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Here are some ideas to help stir up those Christmas flames in a busy world:

  • Let each ornament act as a reminder of someone to pray for or a reason to praise Jesus
  • Allow yourself to stop a tradition, especially those causing unwanted pounds
  • Say no to one dinner or play
  • Get up an hour earlier to have time with Christ
  • listen to Christ-centered Christmas music and when things become stressful, stop and take a break…with Christ

Leave your suggestions for others in the comments!

Copyright 2017 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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Throwback Thursday: Painful Christmas Reminders

PAINFUL CHRISTMAS REMINDERS

By Carolyn Dale Newell

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Psalm 34:18 NKJV

You have already had the “Aha” moment if you are having an especially difficult Christmas. After the third ornament with its unbearable reminder of things I would rather forget, I asked my husband if we could buy some new ornaments to replace these. My desire was to trash them, but I will give them to a new home.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do the same thing with the memories behind the pain? Toss them. Give them away. I would like to tell you that I am writing this from the prospective of a healed heart, but I’m not. Old wounds have been ripped open and new ones have been added.

I wish I had answers for both of us, but I know the One who does. Jesus has the answers to our hurting hearts. He can heal our brokenness. I have seen His grace before. Right now, I cannot see it because I am focusing on the incident. Staring at the stinger while trying to remove it. We need to focus on Jesus. We need to turn our backs on the bittersweet.

Here is how we will do it: we will pray for each other. Sisters, and brothers alike, joining our hearts in agreement that Jesus will console us. He will calm us. He will cure us.

If you are struggling through this not-so-happiest time of the year, for whatever reason, leave a comment. You don’t have to share your particular troubles. Just write, “Pray for me”. I will pray for you, and you pray for me. We will pray for each other.

Let’s commit to celebrate Christmas for the birth of our Savior and center our minds on Him. We will be stronger. We will be blessed. We will be healed!

Lord Jesus, we are a hurting mess. Please touch each one who reads this. Repair the heart that is broken. Remove the bitterness. We decorate to celebrate Your birth. Help each of us to do that – celebrate You. Enable us to put our minds on You, not the pain. Heal everyone who is hurting. Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Luke 4:18-19.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Please leave a short comment so you can be prayed for. Thank you, and God bless!

Copyright 2016 Carolyn Dale Newell.