Each year, I carefully arrange our family’s nativity set with a creative, decorative eye – everything in its proper place. One morning after the kids had left for school, I noticed it had been completely re-arranged with each ceramic figure – shepherds, animals, wise men, Mary, Joseph, angel – positioned around in a big circle, all facing towards the center. And there He was, right in the middle, the ever so carefully placed baby Jesus. “Mom,” my 6 year old explained to me later, “they all have to be facing Jesus, He has to be at the center!”
Such truth. From the sweet, innocent heart of a child who simply loves her Savior.
He is the reason we have Christmas. It’s not just a cute, nice-sounding little saying. He’s not just a decorative holiday piece meant to adorn our home.
His very presence, Emmanuel – God with us, is what Christmas is all about. And that reality breathes life deep into our weary souls, desperate to know lasting joy.
He is what really matters. True celebration is found when He is at the center of it all.
Many things will try to distract us from Him. The hustle and bustle of the season attempts to rob us of what’s most important. Stress of too much to do silently carries us away from the true meaning we say we celebrate. Loneliness and depression plague many with despair during what is supposedly the most wonderful time of the year. The question begs – where is Jesus in it all?
He is here. He is with us.
The most amazing treasure came in one precious life…one little baby who changed the world…who changed my life…who gives hope and purpose in every day…completely holy, eternally perfect, incredibly powerful, always forgiving, forever loving, never failing…King Jesus, our Savior.
So we’re starting a new tradition this year. The Bible stays open during the Christmas season, right here on the kitchen counter. There’s a new verse or passage to read every day, but all reflect the same heart of Christmas, the wonderful hope and reason we celebrate. A constant reminder to my needy soul that HE is what it’s all about.
31 verses for celebrating Christmas and keeping Christ at the center:
1. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
2. “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6-7
3. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'” Luke 2:8-14
4. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:10-11
5. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
6. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15
7. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
8. “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.'” Luke 1:30-31
9. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
10. “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3
11. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:23
12. “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1
13. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
14. “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.” Acts 5:31
15. “When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.” Luke 2:15-16
16. “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey — riding on a donkey’s colt.” Zechariah 9:9
17. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
18. “May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.” Psalms 72:11
19. “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:20
20. “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” Luke 1:68-69
21. ” The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
22. ” The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
23. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8
24. “…Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'” Matthew 2:1-2
25. “The Lord says, ‘Bethlehem, you might not be an important town in the nation of Judah. But out of you will come a ruler over Israel for me. His family line goes back to the early years of your nation. It goes all the way back to days of long ago.'” Micah 5:2
26. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
27. “And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge…” Isaiah 33:6
28. “…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
29. “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:30-32
30. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
31. “Arise shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1