05 Dec The Heart of Christmas
Let’s remember the real reason for the season! Use this simple guide to make your way through the Christmas story this month. Each day includes a Bible reading, a prayer guideline, and a suggested act of kindness. Merry Christmas!
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Prayer: Take a moment to thank God for His divine plan, set into motion ages ago, and for providing a Savior for mankind.
Act of Kindness: Make a special donation to your church or favorite community organization as they continue to spread the gospel and serve people.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Prayer: Pray for your church and its leadership.
Act of Kindness: Drop off special treats to your church staff.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Prayer: Thank God for creating solutions from impossible situations.
Act of Kindness: Make a donation or volunteer to your local homeless shelter.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary.
Prayer: Thank God for angelic protection and assistance!
Act of Kindness: Make a donation to Angel Tree or find a way to participate locally.
And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
Prayer: Take a moment to thank God that He is always with us.
Act of Kindness: Make a donation or volunteer at your local soup kitchen.
She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.”
Prayer: Pray that you will know what God has placed inside of you and that He will show you how to use it for His glory and to help others.
Act of Kindness: Gather new and gently used books to donate to the children’s hospital.
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
Prayer: Ask God to help you walk in faith, even if there are circumstances and situations you still have questions about.
Act of Kindness: Bring a coffee or hot chocolate to your child’s teacher when you drop them off at school.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Prayer: Thank God that He is able to do the impossible and direct your faith toward things you may think could never change, believing Him for miraculous outcomes.
Act of Kindness: Donate a new pair of pajamas and hygiene items for foster children.
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Prayer: Reaffirm your commitment and devotion to serve God and walk in His ways.
Act of Kindness: Make an extra dinner (or get a gift card for dinner out) and give it to your neighbors.
When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Prayer: Pray that God would allow you to deal graciously with unexpected circumstances.
Act of Kindness: Make a donation to your local pregnancy center.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Prayer: Thank God that His perfect love casts out all fear.
Act of Kindness: Choose 5 people (loved ones, co-workers, neighbors) and send a quick note to let them know you are thinking of them.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and the lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
Prayer: Thank God for showing you how all things work together according to His plan, even if they seem to cause disruption in your daily life.
Act of Kindness: Leave a treat or small gift for your mail carrier and trash collection workers.
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
Prayer: Thank God for His perfect timing, and ask Him to sensitize you to His Spirit so you can be in tune with it.
Act of Kindness: Donate new or gently used toys to a ministry that helps families.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Prayer: Pray for those who run and volunteer in homeless shelters, serving those who have no other place to go.
Act of Kindness: Donate new coats or blankets to your local homeless shelter.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
Prayer: Pray for those who rescue and shelter animals.
Act of Kindness: Make a donation to a local animal shelter, either in cash or pet food!
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Prayer: Thank God for the good news of the gospel and for giving you a way to share it.
Act of Kindness: Listen for God’s guidance on who to share the gospel with today.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
Prayer: Pray to be alert to the signs God is giving you that He has sent answers.
Act of Kindness: Make a donation of new or gently used baby items.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Prayer: Take a few moments to sing or speak praises to God.
Act of Kindness: Gather unused or extra clothing and household items to donate.
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Prayer: Ask God to help you respond and move quickly when He tells you to.
Act of Kindness: Ask your child’s teacher if there are any classroom supplies they need and purchase them.
And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
Prayer: Meditate on the goodness of God in your life and on all the things you have heard and seen Him do this year.
Act of Kindness: Drop off treats and a thank-you card to your local fire department or police station.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Prayer: Thank God that His presence goes with you wherever you go, when you are gathered together with other believers and when you return to your home and workplace.
Act of Kindness: Bring regular and sugar-free candy, cookies, or flowers to a local nursing home.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Prayer: Ask God to help you see signs of Him in your life and to increase and enhance your focus.
Act of Kindness: Leave change at the meter or vending machine for the next person to find.
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
Prayer: Take a moment to thank God for leading, guiding, and directing you.
Act of Kindness: Send cards to servicemen and women who are currently stationed away from home.
And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Prayer: Thank God for the material blessings you enjoy that allow you to return your tithes and bring an offering to the house of God. Ask God to show you how to use your talent and treasures for Him.
Act of Kindness: Pay for the person’s order behind you in line at the drive-thru.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Prayer: Take time to thank God today for the gift of salvation.
Act of Kindness: Make a special birthday cake to celebrate our Savior’s birth. If you do not have kids or grandkids to share it with, consider purchasing one to share with others (those working on Christmas in hospitals, shelters, etc.).