What God wants for Christmas…
The Advent season culminates in a day filled with gifts… Gifts for everyone but the ONE we are celebrating. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we spent Advent preparing to give the Christ Child the ONE gift He truly desires from us?
But what can I possibly give to the King of Kings? And how do I give it?
What God wants for Christmas:
The simple answer is YOU.
What’s not always that simple is knowing WHAT that means, or HOW to do it.
How to Give God what He wants for Christmas
1 – Give Him your TIME
What “Time” is NOT…
The time God wants from you is not just those 5 minutes here and there “when we have time”, or the time you spend at church on Sunday. It isn’t just accidental moments, or self-centered moments. The time we spend with God needs to be Quality time in order to fit this category.
What “Time” is… (4 things)
- Quality time
God wants us to give Him time that we intentionally set aside for Him. Time that we could have used for other things. Time that we chose to put Him before something else and to seek Him. It’s not at all the same to merely be with Him when we have nothing else to do, when we are forced to talk to Him, or only when we need Him.
- Listening as well as Speaking
When you are on the phone, you don’t just talk and hang up. When you go to a friend’s house, you don’t just vent and leave. No, you LISTEN. Attentively wait for a response in prayer. Believe that one will come. (This does not mean that the response will be instantaneous). Spend time with Him even when you aren’t talking. Just think about Him. Reflect on the Gospels, Reflect on how you have seen Him working in your past. Get to know Him better by studying how He works.
Allow God to work and speak in His time. Also, don’t expect to have a deep relationship with God instantly, but have patience and trust that it is building with time, proportionate to the effort you invest in it. It’s like your way of “proving” that you are truly interested in this relationship.
“Those who are trustworthy in small matters will also be trustworthy in great”- Luke 16:10
- Time of Day
Yes, the 5 minutes here and there are important and your relationship can’t be built without them. Just make sure they are also meeting the “specs” for the rest of this time category. The more QUALITY time you spend, the quicker you will feel your relationship deepening. The busier you are (ie. the more responsibilities you have) the MORE time you need in prayer per day (20 min, 30 min, 60 min…, morning, night, midday, etc). There is no such thing as too much prayer. Do not make excuses not to pray. Make it the most important thing you do…. and you will start to see how important it is.
In the end, the idea is to give Him ALL your time – so that eventually we will be able to “Pray without Ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) .
Don’t worry, He will give you back 100-fold whatever time you need for the rest of your life.
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? – Matthew 6:28-30
2- Give Him your ENERGY
ACTIVELY PURSUE GOD. A deeper relationship with Him doesn’t just happen because you say you want it to. What do your actions say? Are you making Him a priority? Are you spending quality time together? Are you allowing Him to affect the way you think and act?
In the end, the idea is to give Him ALL your ENERGY.
Don’t worry, He will give you back 100-fold whatever energy you need for the rest of your life.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ~ Matthew 6:31-32
3 – Give Him your SPACE
Prayer happens more easily for us as human beings if we first dedicate a space for it, for God, in our lives.
Your space becomes a habitual place that, upon entering, your mind and body are more quickly transitioned from the chaos of the “world” to the rest we find in prayer.
Examples of “space”
The most obvious example might be a “war room“. But, you can also just make a chair in a corner, a small desk, or a table your dedicated prayer space. This space could be decorated with items or pictures that help you pray, or cleared out to be completely empty so that you don’t feel distracted from prayer.
Maybe it is just a specific place at a specific time of day – like a particular seat at the breakfast table as the sun shines in before anyone else is awake.
Your space is not limited to indoors either, it could even be a specific path that you like to walk on your lunch break at work.
A prayer journal can also be a space for prayer when we cannot dedicate a specific location.
The point is that your space should be somewhere readily accessible for you on a regular basis that reminds you to pray. Ideally, it would be your entire home. What better season to practice this than Advent, when we are already decorating our homes to welcome Him!? (You are decorating for Him, not Santa, right?)
In the end, the idea is to give Him ALL your SPACE – He wants every last inch of our hearts and our homes so that eventually we will be able to pray everywhere and in every moment.
He will give you back 100-fold whatever space you need for the rest of your life.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. ~ Matthew 19:29
4 – Give Him your ATTENTION
He speaks in a quiet whisper to your heart (1 Kings 19:11-13), He knocks gently (Revelation 3:20), and He shows himself in the unexpected. We have to be constantly paying attention in order to notice the subtle ways He works in our lives.
“My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me” ~ John 10: 27-28
- Dedicate quiet time without cell phones, TV, Radio or people
- Spend quiet time in church, your prayer space, or in nature. Go for prayer walks.
- Don’t be afraid to pray at weird times of the day, like if you suddenly wake in the middle of the night.
- Take unexpected moments of free time as opportunities for prayer.
In the end, the idea is to give Him ALL your attention and He will direct you toward what you need to do – in addition to giving you the time and energy to do it. This is how our work too, in the end, can become prayer.
And, do not worry, He will give you back 100-fold whatever focus you need for the rest of your life.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ~ Psalm 119:105
God wants EVERYTHING from you so that He can give you everything.
Because, in the end, all God really wants, is YOU!!!!
PS. What God doesn’t need this Christmas…
- Fancy words (poetry, eloquence)
- Fancy times (that pretty much never present themselves)
- Fancy places (ie. trips to the Holy Land)
- “Fancy” (“Contrived”) Effort/Show – Trying TOO hard
Disclaimer: These things are not necessarily bad – just not required for this special gift of yourself to Him this Season. It would be like a husband who thinks he can only love is wife by taking her to a super fancy and expensive dinner… There is a time and place for Fancy dinners, but true love and depth in a relationship are best expressed in the little things everyday.
Comment Below: Why do you hold back from God? What is keeping you from giving yourself to Him this Christmas?
Yes, His demands are radical, but His rewards are even more radical. You just have to take that leap of faith.
Let’s live a radical Advent together, asking Him for the grace to give Him EVERYTHING by Christmas!
#ParticularlyCALLED #Togetherinthetrenches #IamCALLED
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