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We were in a time of transition, and I’d been eagerly anticipating the reliable traditions, stillness, and cherished peace of Christmas Eve. Silly as it was, attending a noisy, atypical morning celebration we were invited to instead of a calm service made me feel sad. To add to my frustration of eager anticipation climaxing in disappointment, it was unseasonably warm.
I felt ridiculous praying for God to help me be still and praise Him. Shouldn’t I be able to do that on my own? But I couldn’t, and God cares, so I asked.
That evening, my husband surprised me with a trip to a little historic church nearby. We entered a sanctuary adorned with well-loved pews, decorations made by children, and evergreen trimmings lining the walls. A choir sang, children listened to a story, and a pastor we’d never heard preach before shared the gospel beautifully and clearly. In the stillness, they passed out candles to hold as we sang “Silent Night.”
Then, two by two, the pastor led us out with candles, song, and hearts still burning into the starlit night. Unexpected snow began to fall as we ended with the words “the Savior is born.”
God so arrested my attention and awe I felt as if an angel in the sky declared, “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy!” (Luke 2:10). By His grace, God helped me stop and behold Him that night.
Do you also struggle with getting in the Christmas spirit? Although there are many different reasons for the struggle, we can find help through a few simple strategies.
Remember What the Christmas Spirit Is
Secular references to the “Christmas spirit” point to a sense of peace and joy that come with a perspective of thankfulness. For, believers, this sentiment can be a year-round reality.
When we receive Christ as our Savior, He gifts us with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the true Christmas spirit embodied. He equips us with the peace, joy, love, and hope found in Christ alone. Sometimes in the midst of busyness, festivities, and preparing for Christmas, we forget Christ has already come and given us the Spirit by which we praise Him.
Christmas is a wonderful time to remember Christ’s coming, and also to dwell on what Romans 8 describes: we “do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (8:4). We set our minds on the things of the Spirit, the Spirit proves we belong to Christ, and we are the children of God. These are gifts to rejoice in!
Ask God for Help Worshipping Him
Asking God for help worshipping Him can feel a bit like asking Mom for money as a child—to buy a gift for Mom. But God’s grace is endless, and there is nothing we have we didn’t receive anyway (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Even the relationship we have with God is something we have received from God. He chooses us, delights in us, and is actively involved in our lives because He wants to be! As our perfect heavenly Father, He loves when we ask His help.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Drawing near to God is an act of worship, and a wonderful first step when we need His help being worshipful. Don’t be afraid to ask God’s help with worship or awe.
Behold What Is Awe-worthy
On the Christmas Eve I asked God for help getting in the Christmas spirit, part of what I needed to do in response to Him was behold. I could have overlooked the sudden snowfall in the candlelight—surely I have before. “Silent Night” could have gone in one ear and out the other, as it has many times.
We have opportunities all the time to stop, notice, and praise God for His good gifts. There are reasons to worship Him all the time! Too often, we’re more focused on other things.
In the Bible, “Behold” is a word used to mark that something is important and should be given attention. Beholding breaks routine and reorients us to worship.
For example, God said “behold” when He declared everything He made was good, when He gave Jacob His promise, and His angels used the word when they came to Mary and Joseph before Jesus’s birth (Genesis 1:31; 28:12; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31).
Remember, Ask, Behold
This Christmas, we have a plethora of gifts from God just waiting to be opened and enjoyed. When we remember Christ and the Spirit He has given us, we’re reminded of who we celebrate. Asking God’s help draws us near to the one we seek to praise. Beholding God’s glory in Christ and his kindness to us moves us to worship—the kind that stops us, stills us, and fills us with “good news of great joy!”