Christmas Spiritual Checklist

I love party games, especially those that rev up my competitive juices and involve lists.

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At a recent party, I won a beautiful wreath, scoring 18 DESPITE having: no tree, no outside lights, no treats, no turkey. My secret? We exchanged gifts in November, earning me 5 big points on #10!

How would my soul score on a spiritual quiz? Do I sense a quickening as I read Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth and worship, not just at the manger scene, but in everyday acts that glorify our Lord?

Here’s a soul quiz. Do you dare take it? No points—that would be legalistic, and you know what Jesus thought of the Pharisees!

1. Instead of buying more ornaments, ponder the beauty of God’s creation, including that tree…and the stars shining on a clear, crisp night. Thank Jesus for all you see in nature! “Lift up your eyes on high and see Who has created these stars, the One Who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).

2. Don’t strive for the perfect holiday photo. Envision your beloveds at a happy time. Savor that memory and thank God for each of them. Pray 3 John 2 for your loved ones: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in good health, even as your soul prospers” (Aramaic Bible in Plain English).

3. If you live in America, you likely cook/eat too much every day. Provide for the truly hungry. Feed them as if you were feeding Jesus. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home” (Matthew 25:35).

4. Caroling’s great, but also sing by yourself. Jesus will hear! “Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there” (Third verse, “Away in a Manger,” McFarland).

5. If Christmas cards are hassle, share not just long-distance news about your family’s year, but the Good News that Jesus Christ saves all Who call on His Name and turn from their sins.

6. Party with your eyes on Jesus! Share toasts with fellow believers that praise His Holy attributes. Be creative! After all, it is the season to celebrate His birthday.

7. Is your Visa maxed out? Put your wish lists on a diet, and instead shop for one who can’t reciprocate or give sacrificially to a charity. If you are not able to give, be a cheerful receiver, and lavish others with prayers and notes of thanks. “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:13).”

 8. Instead of buying a hormone-enhanced super turkey, consider “slimming up” your Christmas feast. At least cut back on the trimmings. Your health will thank you.

9. Play music, but for heaven’s sake, don’t stress about it!

10. Quit worrying about how many gifts are under the tree. Instead, pull off your “wrappings.” What’s underneath? Gossip? Lies? Negativity? Ask Jesus what “inside issue” you could offer up to Him and repent, your eyes on the Perfect Babe, Whose soon left the cradle for the cross.

11. Don’t worry about making your house the brightest on the block. Let Christ’s light shine in you. “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

12. Don’t ruin a day of your earthly life by stressing over details. Before you even get out of bed, thank the Lord for another day!

Angie and I pray that you will find the shalom peace that the Lord can give. Merry Christmas!