As I write this it’s 5 days until Thanksgiving, and while yes, I have been thinking about what I’m thankful for, I have to admit that I’ve also been thinking even more about the approach of my favorite holiday of the year, Christmas. Even now that I’m older and the presents aren’t so important, and since I’m working full-time and won’t be getting a month off *sigh* Christmas is still, without a doubt, the most wonderful time of the year. This year, as I’ve shared with you all in my last couple of posts, I’ve been struggling a bit in my daily quiet time and personal Bible study, and taking some steps to counteract that. I hope that some of you have found those posts personally beneficial as well, but I think this next one is really one for everybody.
I’ve thinking about the distraction and distance that I’ve felt in my prayer life lately, and how to combat them — and of course I’ve also been looking forward to all the amazing holiday traditions of this time of year. I can already taste the gingerbread, and I’ll drag the tree out and set it up this weekend even if everyone else is too busy sleeping off the turkey and mashed potatoes. Then, I thought of something that combines both personal devotion struggles AND Christmas traditions! An advent calendar with prayer topics rather than chocolate or treats (not that you couldn’t have chocolate too, of course!) Starting December 1st and continuing every day until Christmas Day, I’ll be praying over one of the topics listed on my calendar. I’ve also paired a verse with each prompt, for additional inspiration.
I encourage you to download the calendar and try it out yourself. It’s a simple way to put the focus of the holiday season back on Jesus, the reason for it all, and step back from the holiday bustle and whirlwind and invest in your prayer life. The topics range from “pray for your roommate” to “pray for those living in war torn countries,” and they’re general enough that most of them will be applicable to most people. Of course feel free to substitute some of your own ideas if some of the topics a
ren’t relevant to you or others would serve you better.
There are also a couple was to use the calendar. You can print it out and cover the squares with sticky notes and peel one off each day, which is super tidy. You might stick it in a school binder or prayer journal or tape it on the wall. You could also cut out the squares and fold them up and throw them in a mason jar and pick one out each day (the order is random anyways). If you want to do something cute, try cutting out each square and stringing them on twine with mini clothes pins or decorative paper clips, and hanging them on the wall (that’s what I plan to do, I’ll update this post with a photo after I get that set up with the Christmas decorations).
So, without further ado, click here to download the calendar, and by all means share with your friends and family! Print a few extra copies and hand them out at small group or church, and share the link around! Let’s give back a little extra time to Jesus at a time of year that he’s even closer than usual to our hearts.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? I’d love to hear in the comments below.