"We are committed to helping you grow in grace-filled, daily discipline! The habit of a Quiet Time looks different in every season, and we hope that these articles will encourage you to just keep going by the grace of Jesus!"

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January 13, 2022

Three Ways to Transform Your Quiet Time in 2022

Having Consistent and Dedicated Time with God

By Tiffany Layton

Several years ago, I decided to get serious about spending daily time with God. I knew in order to do this I was going to have to make some big changes. I spent time with God occasionally. But it was very conditional, based on what I was feeling at any given moment. I’m a bit of a free bird at heart. I would naturally live my life with fluidity—going whichever way my desires and feelings take me. However, this most certainly does not produce spiritual fruit and righteousness. Therefore, I have had to learn how to exercise self-control and discipline.

A new year is the time I usually reflect on things I’d like to change. It was at a new year I decided to make changes in regard to my quiet time with God. I committed to having consistent and dedicated quiet times.

Here are a couple of ways I transformed my quiet time. I hope these simple changes help you as much as they did me.

1. Transform the way you think about quiet time.

My perspective of quiet times had to change. I had viewed it as icing on the cake so to speak, rather than thinking about it as abiding in Christ.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing…But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted.”  (John 1:4-5, 7 NLT)

In order to change my thinking about my quiet time, I had to acknowledge the vast importance it holds. Jesus says in order for us to produce anything for Him, we must abide in Him! The way we do this is by spending time with Him daily. Therefore, I want to encourage you to reshape the way you think about quiet time. Is it a duty and obligation, or is it what you run to daily to sustain your life?

2. Transform the way you plan.

Before I made changes to my quiet time, I had no plan or commitment. I would sit down when I felt like it, read whatever moved me, and finish when I felt like it. This was very “me” centered and not focused on intimacy, knowledge, or relationship with God.

Planning ahead for your quiet time makes a huge difference. I didn’t really know what to do or study or even pray at times. So, I just wouldn’t do anything. When I came across Wholehearted years ago, they provided such clear, easy-to-follow resources for planning out my quiet time. The Quiet Time Companion is an amazing resource to help you structure your time with God to have more depth and longevity.

I encourage you to set a time and place and stick to it! Select a Bible reading plan, topic to study, or book of the Bible. This way you know exactly what you’re going to read ahead of time. Take the time to write out topics for prayer so you can stay focused when you pray!

3. Transform your commitment to prayer.

There were times I found myself concluding my quiet time without having truly prayed. I spent all the time journaling and reading. But I wasn’t really spending significant time talking to God. This is absolutely vital and crucial to our relationship with God. The intimacy we desire with God will never be met without a commitment to daily prayer. We cannot have a relationship with someone we don’t communicate with.

I encourage you, this new year, to set aside daily time to pray. Make a plan for your prayer so you can stay focused. If you do anything in your quiet time, talk with your God.

Application Points:

  • Identify some ways you want to transform your quiet time with God. (Refer back to John 15.)
  • Write out a plan for your quiet time. When? Where? What will you read? What will you pray about? (Wholehearted’s resources and freebies are an excellent place to start!)
  • Make a commitment to daily prayer! (Try using Wholehearted’s Prayer List templates.)

Tiffany lives in Alabama with her husband, Lex. She works at a local Credit Union and volunteers at her church, where she serves as a worship leader.

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January 11, 2022

Three Things I Don’t Want to Do in 2022

Setting Goals to Build up Others Instead of Yourself

By: Jordan Sparnroft

We all like to think about the physical and practical changes we want to make at the start of a new year. Lose weight, pay off debt, cut out sugar, declutter, etc. We prefer to make changes that we can feel and see. Changes which will benefit us directly and build us up in the eyes of others.

As I consider setting goals this year, I will also examine my motives. Do my goals build myself up or do they uplift those around me?

Shifting my focus from myself to others—here are three things I don’t want to do again in 2022:

1. I don’t want to acquire debt and hoard money— I want to be a faithful steward.

In 2021, I struggled to honor God with my finances. I hoarded and spent with the focus of building my own kingdom and not His. The first thing I want to do in 2022 is start paying off debt. Why? So, I can give more freely as God calls me to. I need to remember all I have comes from God and I’m called be a good steward to honor Him.

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV)

2. I don’t want to be a peacekeeper— I want to be a peacemaker.

I HATE conflict and I’m terrified of it. I love peace and will do anything to keep it. In 2021, I learned the difference between being a peacekeeper and a peacemaker. God doesn’t expect us to do everything we can to keep peace. But he does call us to make peace even if it entails facing conflict head on and not running cowardly in the passive aggressive direction. In the past, I’ve made having peace with others an idol. I have withheld telling the hard truth to people.

Jesus tells us we will have conflict in this life, especially when we preach the gospel. In 2022, I want to be a peacemaker. I want to strive for peace as far as it depends on me—even if that means dealing with conflict head on. In turn, this is loving others more than my need for everyone to like me and my want for a conflict-free life.

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19 ESV)

3. I don’t want to be a taskmaster— I want to be a humble servant.

I have relied too much on my own strength to get things done. Any time there is a deadline in front of me with a long list of tasks, I begin to eat the bread of anxious toil. I wake up early and go to bed late working myself into a complete tizzy without ever once pausing and asking my Savior for help. I want to cross the items off of the list to prove my productive worth to others. I don’t trust He will give me the energy, time, and resources to get it all done. I see the interruptions from my family and my students as inconveniences holding me back from crossing tasks off of my list.

Instead, I should begin my day asking, “God, may the tasks you want to get done be completed. Even the ones that aren’t on this list.” In 2022, when I am bombarded with tasks and deadlines, I want to commit them all to the Lord. I want to steward the time, energy, and resources Jesus gives me well and trust whatever it is He wants me to do will get done—if it doesn’t, I’ll trust He had something better in mind. 

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil;

for he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:1-2)

Application Question:

  • When setting your goals for the New Year, ask yourself—Am I motivated to build myself up or the Kingdom of God?

If the answer is yourself, ask God to change your heart, not merely the goal.

Lives in historic central Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is a first grade teacher at a Christian school, and loves early mornings and spending time with her family. 

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January 6, 2022

When You Feel Like Your Quiet Time Will Never Be Good Enough

Remembering Your Emotions Won’t Always Align with the Truth

By Grace McCready

Why do I not feel inspired by anything in this chapter of Scripture?

Why does it feel like I’m praying to the ceiling instead of to the Father?

Why can’t I seem to memorize this super short Bible passage?

Why can’t I hear the Lord speaking to me through this worship song?

Why can’t I think of anything to praise God for?

These are valid questions that I believe most Christian women ask themselves—at least occasionally—after having a less-than-perfect quiet time. 

Unfortunately, in asking these (and similar) questions, we usually make our quiet time less about God and more about us.

About us in how we feel (or don’t feel) afterward. About us in what we get (or don’t get) out of it. About us in where we see (or don’t see) growth as a result of our quiet time effort.

But what if having a quiet time isn’t really about you? What if having a quiet time is really about trying to obey the Lord and draw close to Him?

Because, honestly, your quiet time will never be good enough. I know that might sound discouraging initially, but it’s actually very encouraging.

Here’s what I mean: If you’re depending on yourself to feel inspired after reading every chapter of Scripture, feel exhilarated after praying every prayer, easily memorize every Bible passage, hear God speak through every worship song, and burst into praise during every moment with God, then your quiet time will never be good enough. If every occasion that you set aside to spend with the Lord has to be perfect, then you’ll lose sight of Him in the process of trying to perfect your quiet time. He’ll lose importance to you as you focus on fickle feelings, irritating insecurities, and extravagant expectations.

In reality, the “goodness” of your quiet time can’t be measured on a scale from “terrible” to “terrific.” God doesn’t measure your quiet time that way, and you shouldn’t either! What matters most is that you meet with the Lord—consistently, submissively, and purposefully.

David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon, saying, “Is the Lord your God not with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has handed over to me the inhabitants of the land, and the land is subdued before the Lord and before His people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; then arise, and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 22:17-19 NASB, emphasis mine)

This passage is fascinating to me because, in commanding his son Solomon to build the temple, David knew that Solomon would have to be purposeful in his decision-making and in his follow-through. David understood that in order for Solomon to be successful in following God’s will, Solomon would have to set his heart and soul to seek God. He had to make sure that his desire to seek the Lord—not his emotions—was the driving force.

The same is true for your quiet time.

When you don’t feel inspired, read your Bible anyway. When you don’t feel like God is paying attention, pray anyway. When you can’t seem to memorize a Scripture passage, memorize anyway. When you can’t hear Him speaking to you through worship, worship anyway. When you don’t feel like praising Him, praise Him anyway.

Satan would love for the perfect to become the enemy of the good in this area of your life. If he tells you that (1) your salvation isn’t genuine or (2) you’re not really growing in Christ or (3) having a quiet time isn’t worth the effort because you feel like your quiet time will never be good enough, run to the Lord in search of the truth! Weed out the lies from the truth and live by the truth—because every time you skip your quiet time because you feel like it will never be good enough, Satan wins.  

We shouldn’t expect our quiet time to be perfect because we’re not perfect. We simply need to come to the Lord consistently, submissively, and purposefully. He’ll take care of the rest.

Application Points:

  • Think about your quiet time last week and how you felt before, during, and after. If you have any concerns about how you felt (or didn’t feel), give those over to God.
  • Make a list of 10 truths about God that don’t depend on your fickle feelings.
  • Ask yourself what a grace-based quiet time—rather than emotions-based quiet time—looks like in your own life.

Grace enjoys spending time with her family, hanging out with friends, and watching her favorite TV shows. She is the author of Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like, which is set to release in 2022. She blogs about the Christian life at Tizzie’s Tidbits of Truth.

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January 4, 2022

Abundant Life

Biblical Thoughts on Living Life to the Fullest

By Erica Hunt

The confetti has fallen. We’ve cleaned up the empty cups. The Christmas decorations are being put away. Time to start afresh, 2022 is here!  The world has been through a lot in the last few years and many people are bracing themselves for the next thing. As the new year begins, people will commit to one or several New Year’s resolutions. A search of popular resolutions included: lead a healthier lifestyle, manage finances, and develop habits which benefit health, daily life, relationships or mindfulness.

One somewhat vague resolution I found was, “live life to the fullest.” The world says living life to the fullest means taking chances. Don’t let opportunities pass you by. Enjoy yourself! Put your desires, needs, and wants first!

The idea of living life to the fullest is not entirely unbiblical. In contrast to the world, however, Scripture always points to God as the source of fullness in our lives. The course of our life is not solely the product of our own choices, though they do have significant influence. Ecclesiastes tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) The writer poetically explains our lives will undergo various seasons and they are all ordained by God. We are given the gift of life and the freedom to choose how to live our lives. But it is God who ultimately determines the course of our lives.

Fullness comes when I am living out God’s purpose for my life. This is revealed in the mundane tasks of my daily life. Christ provides for all my needs. He gives strength and purpose. He fills my life with joy in the midst of sorrow; peace in a chaotic and shifting world. He gives hope beyond an uncertain future. A fullness is found in these beautiful gifts, and my response is praise for his goodness and faithfulness.

This fullness of life can be yours as well. Take encouragement for the year ahead with these words: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Whether your 2022 resolutions include frugality, health, or bettering your life in different ways, remember in all these things, you have an opportunity to glorify God. Experience life in Christ to the fullest in 2022!

Application Points:

  • Remember life is a gift from God—thank him for it.
  • Align your New Year’s resolutions with the mindset of glorifying God.
  • Ask God to show you how He wants to use you in the coming year.
  • Walk in obedience to the Lord’s leading in your life.

Erica lives with her husband, Justin, in South Dakota. She teaches middle school and loves traveling, collecting quotes, learning fun facts and historical information, drinking coffee, eating ice cream and enjoying good conversation with friends.

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December 30, 2021

Come Thou Fount

Five Ways Having a Quiet Time Impacted My Life in 2021

By Tiffany Layton

There have been seasons in my life when I’ve not had consistent quiet times. However, over the past several years I have grown significantly in my time with God. A lot of this growth came from the aid, discipleship, and resources of Wholehearted Quiet Time. I’m grateful for the significant role Wholehearted has played in my relationship with the Lord.

Here are several ways in which my quiet time has impacted my life in 2021:

1. Having a quiet time has brought peace in the midst of chaos.

This year has been particularly stressful for me and my husband. We have been renovating a house which we are renting-to-own and will be closing on shortly. We changed jobs. My husband’s new job requires a lot of traveling which has been a big adjustment for both of us. The beauty of daily time with God is that His peace surpasses all of our understanding.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

When we go to God regularly and with everything, THEN His peace will not only exceed our understanding, but it actually places a guard on our heart and mind! Hallelujah!

2. Having a quiet time has helped me to learn discipline in all areas of life.

I have come to notice consistent quiets time with God actually helps me to become more disciplined in other areas of my life. I believe this is because God asks for our first and best. When I am prioritizing Him above all else, it helps me to properly prioritize other areas of life. Ultimately, this dying to self, elevates Him to His proper place!

“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30 NLT)

3. Having a quiet time binds my wandering heart to Him.

The old hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, has some really powerful lyrics. When reflecting on what quiet time produces in my life, there is one line in this hymn which stands out the most: “bind my wandering heart to Thee.” I would encourage you to read the entire verse surrounding this line in the hymn. It reflects the perfect posture of heart we should bring to the Lord in quiet time.

“O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let Thy goodness like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above.”

4. Having a quiet time promotes repentance and obedience to God.

Without consistent, daily quiet time with God, it becomes very easy to forego the practice of repentance and obedience. In the seasons of my life when I did not make time with God a priority, I found myself making many compromises. However, as I have grown in my walk with God, and my commitment to a regular time with Him, I have come to find it much easier to live a lifestyle of repentance and obedience to Him.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength… (Isaiah 30:15 NIV)

5. Having a quiet time motivates me to have fellowship with other Christians.

A gift I did not expect in 2021 was a deeper fellowship and unity with the Body of Christ. It has been a blessing to me. When we spend time with the Lord, we begin to love the things He loves. And other than the Father, there is nothing He loves more than the Body of Christ. The more I spend time with Him, the more I desire closeness with the Body!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (I John 1:7 NIV)

Application Points:

  • Make your own list of how having a quiet time has impacted your year.
  • Make a list of how you would like to grow in your quiet time next year.
  • Plan to succeed! Make a plan for your quiet time in 2022.
  • Practice regular repentance, obedience to Scripture, and fellowship with the Body!

Tiffany lives in Alabama with her husband, Lex. She works at a local Credit Union and volunteers at her church, where she serves as a worship leader.

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December 28, 2021

Rest in the Truth

Three Quiet Time Reminders for the Busy Christmas Season

By Marissa Hochstedler

When I first began to prepare for the Christmas season, I felt dread rather than joy. Thinking of the decorations, shopping lists, and gatherings overwhelmed me. There seem to be so many distractions which keep me from celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Reflecting on the sense of dread I initially felt about this Christmas season, I quickly realized my eyes were fixed on the wrong things. 

When we choose to take our eyes off of ourselves, what we have to do, and where we have to go, and place them on Jesus, something significant changes. Our adoration of Jesus motivates us to move forward in love, joy and peace. When we look to the things of this world to fulfill us, we will never be satisfied. However, when we choose to instead look first to Jesus as the greatest gift, the chaos of the season falls away at his feet. 

Christmas is about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, Immanuel—God with us. It’s a time to celebrate the life he lived, and the life he still lives within us. In the midst of the busyness of this Christmas season, choose to slow down, be present, and take time to remember the reason we celebrate. Let’s not allow the distractions keep us from celebrating the true gift, Jesus. 


  • Christmas is about GOOD news—                

Luke 2:10: “The angel said to them ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” 

  • Joy is not dependent on our feelings or circumstances but rather the truth of Christ alone—  

1 Peter 1:8-9: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation for your souls.” 

  • Our gift to God in response to his great gift of grace in Jesus Christ is worship—         

Matthew 2:11: “…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 of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” 

The busyness of the world around us turns our eyes away from the good news of Immanuel. The light has come to be with us, and the darkness will not overcome it. (John 1:5)

Marissa grew up in Indiana and has lived there all of her life. Married to Cameron and dog-mom to their puppy, Jax. Enjoys all seasons the Midwest has to offer, but her favorite is fall. Her perfect morning consists of coffee, quiet time and Jesus.

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December 23, 2021

Hopes and Fears

When Christmas Isn’t Merry

By Erica Hunt

It was the last place I wanted to be after the six-hour drive home from college. I’d been home just a few minutes when I was told we were going to the hospital to visit a dear family friend losing her battle with cancer.

My steps were slow as I walked into the hospital. With a heavy heart, I followed the rest of my family up the stairs. The setting sun on that December afternoon darkened the tiny room. In an attempt to bring some holiday cheer, we gathered around her bed and sang Christmas carols.

As I sang, I couldn’t help but marvel at the words from “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” Even though this song was written over one hundred years ago, about the birth of Christ two thousand years earlier, it rang true in that moment at the foot of a hospital bed. And it still rings true for us today.

Everyone knows the holiday season is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” full of magic and lights and laughter and cheer. But during the holiday season, there are many experiencing some kind of hurt or suffering. Mixed with the joy and laughter, there is weeping. For some, it’s difficult to hear carols or see happy family commercials. December’s rituals can bring memories of painful moments. Christmas can increase the feelings of loneliness, depression, stress, anxiety and the hurts of living in a fallen world.

In contrast to the darkness of the world, lies the remarkable reality of Christmas. Our hopes and our fears are met in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the promise of hope sent to us in our darkness. In our brokenness, Christ brings a hope of restoration. In our pain and sickness, He brings healing. In division, there is hope of reconciliation. In death there is hope of a resurrection and eternal life. Christ’s hope illuminates the world darkened and marred by sin.

Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness on them has light shined.”

These words were a prophecy of the coming of Christ hundreds of years before his birth. Yet, they are relevant today as we walk in a world darkened by sin, or sit at the foot of hospital beds, or stand in the mess in our kitchen. Christ has come! We can look to the light of Christ to meet our needs today.

You may be experiencing tough things in your life right now, but you can rest in the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sin was defeated at the cross but our salvation became possible because of his incarnation.

Emmanuel, God with us. We do not have to fear death or eternal separation from God, because deliverance from our sin and sorrows entered our realm. The hope of Christmas has given us comfort for these moments, and joy in the anticipation of Jesus’ return to redeem our fallen world. Jesus, the babe in the manger, is our hope!

Applications Points:

  • When you feel overcome by the darkness of the world this Christmas, remember to look to Christ for hope.
  • Ask God to bring you peace in the midst of sorrow.
  • Find a song or a poem which brings you hope. Post it where you can read it or listen to it throughout the season.
  • Be aware of, and look for those within your community, who are struggling this Christmas and reach out to them.

Erica lives with her husband, Justin, in South Dakota. She teaches middle school and loves traveling, collecting quotes, learning fun facts and historical information, drinking coffee, eating ice cream and enjoying good conversation with friends.

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December 21, 2021

Christmas Hymns and Your Quiet Time

Meditating on the Birth of Christ All Year Round

By Jordan Sparnroft

“Alexa, play Christmas music.” My husband and I look forward to the time of year when we can FINALLY let Nat King Cole serenade us and ignite the holiday spirit. With the stressors of a global pandemic, a volatile political climate, and economic decline lingering rent free in our minds, we are itching for something to bring us joy.

As I’ve gotten older, I look forward to the Christmas season for different reasons. My soul is longing for a miracle greater than a present under the tree. I have always struggled with articulating the desires of my heart. Music expresses my longings in a way I can’t and reminds my heart of the truths it needs to hear. I would much rather the lyrics and tunes of a Christmas hymn linger rent free in my mind than the stressors of the day-to-day.

Music is one of God’s gracious gifts to us. I’m in awe of the way lyrics and notes can pierce my heart. Hymns which sing sound theology never get old. The tunes and the lyrics they carry are truly timeless and shouldn’t be limited to one month. My heart needs to meditate on the ENTIRE gospel story every day of the year. I want to focus on the miraculous birth of Christ all year round. When I hear “Joy to the World” sung by Whitney Houston outside the holiday season, its message of hope seems fitting.

I encourage you to look up the lyrics of Christmas hymns and meditate on them throughout the year. Incorporating Christmas hymns and lyrics into our quiet time enriches our worship of God.

Here are some of my favorite Christmas hymns and verses. If listening to Christmas music throughout the year just doesn’t feel right, reading the lyrics alone will speak hope to your soul. I promise.

1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel

“From depths of hell Thy people save,

And give them victory o’er the grave

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to three, O Israel.”

2. O Holy Night

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining

‘Til He appears and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn”

3. Silent Night

Silent night, holy night

Son of God, oh, love’s pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace

Jesus, Lord at Thy birth”

4. O Come All Ye Faithful

“O come, let us adore him

God from true God, and

Light from Light eternal

Born of a virgin, to earth he comes!”

5. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

“God rest ye merry gentlemen

Let nothing you dismay

Remember Christ our Savior

Was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan’s pow’r

When we were gone astray

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy”

6. Joy to the World

“Joy to the world! The Lord is come

Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove

And glories of His righteousness

And wonders of His love”

7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

“Mild He lays His glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of Earth

Born to give them second birth

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see

Hail the incarnate deity

Pleased as man with men to dwell

Jesus, our Emmanuel”

Jordan lives in historic central Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is a first grade teacher at a Christian school, and loves early mornings and spending time with her family. 

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December 16, 2021

For the One Who’s Dreading Christmas

You’re Not Alone

By Grace McCready

Christmas is coming, which means a lot of smiles, laughter, and general Christmas cheer. But this year feels different to you. This year feels…hard. You’re experiencing a jumble of emotions: 

I’m supposed to be excited about Christmas, aren’t I? Why do I feel anxious, overwhelmed, and exhausted? What’s wrong with me? This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but I’m ready for it to be over.

I want you to know that you’re believing a lie if you think you’re the only one who can’t find Christmas spirit—at least the “Christmas spirit” described in Hallmark movies and Christmas pop songs, anyway. But no matter how you feel this Christmas, the truths of Christmas still hold true for you.

…[He] saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher. For this reason, I also suffer these things; but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to protect what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Hold on to the example of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Protect, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:9-14 NASB)

I realize this isn’t a typical Christmas passage, but I love it because it encompasses everything we need to know at Christmastime (and all year long)! No matter how you feel this Christmas—and even if you’re dreading it deep down inside—this is true for you. If Christ hadn’t entered our world at Christmas, we would still be prisoners of sin and death (v. 10). In Him, we are free from those things.

Satan can’t take away our salvation, but he can attack us with his lies. This is why we need to vigilantly protect the truth (vv. 13-14). Like Paul, who I’m sure felt anxious and discouraged as we often do, we simply need to trust we belong to Christ, and nothing can change that (v. 12). We may not be able to hold onto vague emotions, but we can hang onto our changeless Christ.

Application Points:

  • Don’t rely on your emotions as you prepare for Christmas. They can be deceptive, and they’re always changing!
  • Focus on Bible passages which remind you of the big picture of Christmas.
  • Remember other people (including myself) also struggle with difficult emotions at Christmastime. Not everyone feels eager and happy.
  • Take your challenging emotions to God and be honest with others about how you feel so they can pray for you. They may relate to how you feel and be encouraged.

Grace McCready enjoys spending time with her family, hanging out with friends, and watching her favorite TV shows. She is the author of Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like, which is set to release in 2022. She blogs about the Christian life at Tizzie’s Tidbits of Truth.

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December 14, 2021

Christmas in the Old Testament

Seeing Jesus’ Birth Declared Throughout Scripture

By Katie Stone

Recently, as I read through the gospels, I was struck by how many angels and prophets announced Jesus’ birth.

  • An angel told Zechariah he would have a son who would prepare the way for the Messiah.
  • An angel announced to Mary that she would become the mother of the Christ.
  • An angel appeared to Joseph affirming Mary’s baby was the Son of God.
  • Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied about the Messiah after his son, John the Baptist, was born.
  • Angels announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds.
  • Simeon and Anna prophesied over Jesus in the temple.

Jesus’ birth was spoken of by angels and prophets. The prophetic declarations about the birth of the Messiah didn’t begin in the gospels. They began in Genesis.

Old Testament prophesies aren’t as common for us to read at Christmas as the gospels. But they are just as important for us to know. These are the promises that Christ’s incarnation fulfilled. When we reflect on the Old Testament prophesies of the birth of Christ, it gives us confidence Jesus is God’s promised Messiah and Savior, and it reminds us of the faithfulness of God.

Let’s look at a few of them.

The seed of the woman

The first recorded prophesy in the Bible is about Jesus. After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God cursed the Serpent saying, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

God declared that the Messiah would be the seed of the woman.

“When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

Born of a virgin

Through the prophet Isaiah, God made a seemingly impossible declaration that the Messiah would not just come from any woman—He would be born of a virgin.

“Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

Against all impossibilities, this is exactly what happened.

“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you.’” (Luke 1:34-35) The angel told Joseph, “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20)

The Son of God

The Messiah was prophesied to be the seed of a woman and also the Son of God. “The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” (Psalm 2:7)

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy being born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit. Fully God and fully man.

“And the angel answered and said to her…’that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’” (Luke 1:35)

“And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” (Acts 13:32-33)

From the lineage of David

God made a promise to King David that the Messiah would come from his lineage and be a king who would reign forever.

“I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom…I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father and he shall be My son.” (2 Samuel 7:12-14)

Most of us skip over the long genealogies when we read the Christmas story. If you take the time to read them, we discover that Jesus was a descendant of David, from the kingly line. (Matthew 1:1-17)

Born in Bethlehem

God declared very specifically who this Messiah would be, and He was very specific about where the Messiah would be born.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel.” (Micah 5:2)

Mary and Joseph didn’t live in Bethlehem, but that wasn’t a problem for God.

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered…Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son.” (Luke 2:1-7)

Called out of Egypt

“Out of Egypt I called My son.” (Hosea 11:1)

This prophecy confused Jewish scholars. How could God say His son would come from Bethlehem and at the same time say He would be called out of Egypt?

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’ When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’” (Matthew 2:13-15)

By the mouth of prophets

The Bible is full of many more prophesies that Christ fulfilled with His first coming. This is just a sample.

In the words of Zechariah, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began.” (Luke 1:68-70)

Application Points:

  • When you read the Old Testament, look for prophesies about Jesus.
  • When you read the New Testament, notice how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophesies.
  • When you find these connections, worship the Lord for His faithfulness to fulfill His word.
  • Ask yourself: How does seeing the faithfulness of God in every detail of the Christmas story strengthen your faith in His faithfulness over the details of your life?

Katie loves an urban cafe as much as the smell of campfire and pine. Works in communications while studying business and non-fiction writing, and is most happy when leading worship and discipling others. 

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