It’s so easy to get caught up in the shopping, planning, and decorating that comes along with the Christmas season. No matter what we do, there just never seems to be enough time to finish everything that needs to get done. Unfortunately, spending time in God’s word is usually what gets pushed down (and sometimes completely off) on our to do lists. I’m guilty of this, and I’m sure many of you are too. However, when our main focus is on all the glittery decorations, beautiful gifts, and familiar songs, we can sometimes lose sight of what Christmas is truly all about. It’s only when our eyes are fixed on God and in His Word, that we are able to truly celebrate the reason for the season.
Let’s stop obsessing over what gifts we need to buy and the length of our seemingly never ending to do lists. Instead, let’s slow down a little, take a few breaths, and prepare our hearts to appreciate the gift that God gave us two thousand years ago, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). I love that on Jesus’ birthday, God gave us a gift! He gave us Jesus as the atonement “for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Isn’t our God amazing? To help all of us keep our eyes more on Jesus this Christmas, I made an easy to stick with 20 Day Bible Reading Plan. All you need is 5 minutes or less a day (everyone has five minutes to spare), but I pray that once your bibles are open, you won’t be able to put them down!
If you start reading tonight, you’ll be finished on Christmas day. And don’t worry, even if you start reading within the next few days, it will still line up great with the reading schedule since the last five days of the plan follow Jesus’s life shortly after His birth. Either way, I pray that on day 20, you will feel closer to God and ready to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas all year long.
Preparing The Way (Days 1-5)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” John 1:1-2
I think it’s important to start off the Christmas story in the book of John, where we can read about the eternal nature of Christ. Jesus wasn’t created when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and conceived the Son; Christ has always been (Colossians 1:17; John 1:1; Revelation 22:13). As Christians, we celebrate Jesus’ birth not because that was when He was created or came into existence, but because that was when He took human form in order to redeem us from our sins. Jesus “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). This season is about rejoicing in the truth that God loves us so much that “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And that’s only day one of this reading plan! On days two though five, you’ll read about a priest and his barren wife who had their prayers answered, and gave birth to a son. This child grows up to become a well known prophet, who prepares the way for the coming Messiah by preaching the message of repentance and baptizing by water.
Christ’s Birth Announced (Days 6-10)
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
The next five days focus on Mary and Joseph’s experiences and reactions upon being told of Christ’s birth. At first, Mary is afraid, as any woman would be, but then she humbly and faithfully declares herself to be the maidservant of the Lord. Her wish is for the Lord’s will to be done in her life, no matter the cost (Luke 1:38). She knew what kind of consequences came along with pregnancy outside of marriage: judgement and rejection from her community, possibly being abandoned by her fiance, and likely even her own death. On day 7, you’ll read the Old Testament prophecy that was fulfilled in the first chapter of Luke (what you read on day 6). On day 8, you’ll read how an angel of the Lord told Joseph that Jesus would save His people from their sins. The following day focuses on what that little baby in the manger had to eventually endure to save us from our sins. Then, we read one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story, when Mary visits her relative, Elizabeth, and Jesus and John the Baptist meet for the first time!
The Christ Is Born (Days 11-15)
“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.” Luke 2:10-11
During days eleven through fifteen, you’ll see the progression of Mary’s pregnancy. From being newly pregnant, filled with so much joy that she praises her God and Savior for the faithfulness of His promises, to the humble birth of her Son. You’ll read about Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, which was no coincidence, but a fulfillment of prophecy found in the book of Micah. This detour in their life is a wonderful example of how God works everything out for the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11). Then, you’ll focus on a group of shepherds living out in the fields, who are blessed with not only the news that the Savior of the world has been born, but also with the honor of seeing Him in the manger. I love imagining how that night must have been for those men. They were probably out in complete darkness, alone with their flock, when all of a sudden, an angel and then a multitude of the heavenly host appears singing praises to God! Can you imagine how beautiful that must have been?
The Three Wise Men (Days 16-20)
“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 2:2
If you read carefully on day 16, you’ll be able to catch a common mistake many people make about the birth of Christ, and which is also depicted incorrectly in nativity scenes. The three wise men were not there when Jesus was born. Their long journey caused them to visit the Child in His home, not the baby in the stable (Matthew 2:11). This is a fun Christmas fact to share with your family on Christmas. After the wise men’s visit, this new family has to move homes once more. Only this time, it isn’t to take part in a census, but to prevent evil King Herod’s plan of destroying the new prophesied King of the Jews, whom he feared may pose as a threat to his own power. Once again, you’ll see another prophecy fulfilled (Hosea 11:1), and confirmation that no matter how man tries, the purposes of God can never be thwarted (Job 42:2). On day 20, the reading plan comes to an end with a beautiful scripture that encompasses what Christmas is all about.
Are you taking part in my 20 Day Christmas Reading Plan?
If you are, leave a comment below! Let me know how God is speaking and moving in your heart through the reading of this beautiful story!